“Artificial Intelligence will undoubtedly affect all aspects of our lives to such an extent that, for some sectors, we will talk of pre- and post-AI eras. The aim for the government is to exploit the emerging cutting-edge technologies so that our country, as it steps up its digital leap into the future, is not simply a user but also a producer of such technologies,” Digital Governance Minister Dimitris Papastergiou said in a statement to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency released on Saturday.
Greece has already entered the AI era with applications like mAIGov, the digital assistant recently piloted on the gov.gr web portal, and others that the digital governance ministry is soon planning to introduce. As Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said with respect to the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on AI, making use of AI as a “public policy tool in various sectors” is a national priority.
Papastergiou noted that mAIGov had already received 300,000 queries so far, while the government’s aim was that within 2024 it would not only answer queries but also complete tasks, such as booking appointments.
“There are areas of policy where, by making use of the existing volume of data and the data that is now being digitalised, we can bring about a small ‘revolution’ in the daily life of citizens and businesses. Analysing prescription data or the anonymous health data in order to design policy, supporting policy for a fairer taxation system based on real spending, speeding up the delivery of justice by processing millions of pages of minutes, facilitating the work of judges, these are only some of its dozens of uses. In addition, analysing data for even faster and more accurate issue of pensions or analysing meteorological data combined with existing water levels of rivers can give early warning of flooding, while mechanisms for analysing news, photographs and sound can eliminate cyber-fraud or misinformation via the internet,” the minister added.
Papastergiou concluded by noting that “AI is a field where we must work in a coordinated way, aiming at a state that is more modern and efficient in order to continue gaining the trust of the citizens.”
Greece is the first country in Europe to use an AI app in the public sector on a pilot basis. The app has so far replied correctly to 90 pct of queries submitted, while it will soon be able to converse in 24 languages. The next step will be to carry out tasks on users’ behalf, such as booking appointments, downloading documents and others. AI tools have also been used in fighting wildfires by detecting smoke and alerting the fire brigade using geolocation technology, which can also assist in investigations of possible arson.