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A framework for regulating AI in the public sector

Adam Panagiotopoulos; Rowena Rodrigues

Recent technological and regulatory developments in the public sector across the globe signal a radical transition; the traditionally technologically conservative paper-based public sector is transitioning to a digitalised, tech-savvy, advanced and inter-connected system of public services, assimilating market features. Public services and infrastructure are being digitalised; artificial intelligence (AI) and other innovative technologies are being deployed by governmental and local services. There is an increasing trend for governments to set the AI-driven digital transformation of the public sector as a key priority in their regulatory and political agendas. This chapter presents the implications of the digitalised public sector, considering both the positive and negative repercussions of AI in the sector. It also analyses the trends and challenges of regulating AI in the public sector, taking into account shared attributes in regional and international regulatory frameworks and strategies. Based on these findings, we propose a framework for regulating AI in the public sector bringing together what have been identified as critical elements to ensure that the deployment and use of AI in this sector do not prevent States from performing their obligations and duties towards society and individuals. The framework covers three core aspects: (i) Legal (ii) Ethical and (iii) Societal. This framework will help advance the governance of the use of AI and provide insights into the critical elements that need to be present and further developed. This framework aims at laying down the conditions for the full potential of AI deployment and use in the public sector in a manner that meets societal expectations, is in line with fundamental values, rights and freedoms and is underpinned with ethical principles.

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