DGA debuts AI centre ahead of public service improvements

DGA debuts AI centre ahead of public service improvements

The Digital Government Development Agency (DGA) has launched the country's first state artificial intelligence (AI) centre, as a venue for AI tech consulting, network community and creating open sources for AI-based platforms for state agencies to enhance their operations and services.

The move forms part of the government's digital transformation roadmap for 2020-22.

The DGA completed its AI government framework, which is scheduled to be observed and implemented by state agencies from early next year.

DGA chief executive Supot Tiarawut said the government is gearing up digital development for public services that need to be transparent, fast, accurate and convenient.

People need to be supported to gain access to government information conveniently, said Mr Supot.

He conceded Thailand still lacks AI experts in private, state and education sectors, and educating specialists in this field could take a long time.

The state AI centre should draw ready-to-use AI-based solutions and experts in the field to the country, said Mr Supot. The centre should also serve as a community for AI tech among state agencies, universities, private entities, startups, tech developers as well as knowledge-based agencies, such as the National Electronics and Computer Technology Centre.

According to Oxford Insights, Thailand was ranked 56th on a government AI readiness index of 194 countries in 2019. The index comprises 11 input metrics, grouped under four high-level clusters: governance; infrastructure and data; skills and education; and government and public services.

The nation's ranking dropped to 60th this year as other countries were much more alert about preparing for AI tech adoption, said Mr Supot.

The state AI centre highlights three core functions: fostering networks and systems for AI adoption support; generating digital platforms on clouds where state agencies can seek consultancy and AI solutions for their services; and upskilling state officials on AI and data analytics.

"DGA has six experts for AI tech consulting and development," he said.

Mr Supot said 3,000 state officials work in IT fields and the DGA is responsible for boosting their skills through a variety of courses.

The state AI centre developed two AI-based solutions that have been adopted as public services. One is chat bots for information exchange in the Eastern Economic Corridor and another involves a form that can receive complaints about state buildings.

"DGA has a mission to create digital services and integrate the government's information with security in place," he said.

DGA also aims to upgrade digital skills among government personnel to support digital government operations, as well as draw up solutions that could ease the problems in public services through collaboration with partners, Mr Supot said.

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