AI Insights, MARCH 2021

ETAPAS Project Update: Working towards the responsible use of disruptive technologies in the public sector continues

In December 2020, 2021.AI announced its partnership with the EU as one of 14 members involved in the ETAPAS project (Ethical Technology Adoption in Public Administration Services). The project aims to address the following question: How can we correctly evaluate and govern the ethical implications of adopting disruptive technologies by public administrations and public service providers?

Here is an update from us on what we are working on and where we are at with the project. We look forward to continuing our work on this and keep you updated along the way.

What are we working on?

With the project well underway, the initial focus is on establishing the context of disruptive technology adoption in the public sector. Significant effort goes into uncovering the ethical, social, and legal impact of using AI, Robotics, and big data within this sector.

We want to find the answers to these questions:

  • How can we correctly evaluate and govern the ethical implications of disruptive technology adoption by public administrations and public service providers, considering the impact these technologies can have on citizens’ lives?
  • How can we securely manage the technologies and the data they process?

Alongside the other members of this project, a Responsible Disruptive Technology Framework (RDT Framework) will be developed. This includes a Code of Conduct (CoC) that will lay out ethical principles and an overview of ethical risks and social impacts of disruptive technologies. Within the framework, there will be RDT indicators that will help to practically measure the risks and impacts of any implementation of disruptive technologies.

To support the RDT Framework, there will be a governance model as well as a prototypical software platform. Altogether, these deliverables will aid in the ethical adoption of technology within the public sector.

Building the platform

2021.AI will be working to provide the platform to help accelerate and scale the implementation of the RDT Framework. The development of the ETAPAS platform is led by our team. The first focus will be to deliver a usable digital format of the RDT Framework. This will include principles, risks, and social impacts, combined with metrics and indicators. Following that, we will begin developing software to measure and monitor the pre-defined indicators. Lastly, we will build connectors to enable data collection and analysis for multiple use cases.

“The ongoing stage of the project is very important as we are technologically aligning with the Use Case owners and the rest of the technological partners. The alignment is crucial as it will ensure smooth sailing in the upcoming months, when we will start working on the platform,” – Aneja Orlić, Project Manager at 2021.AI.

Our approach aims to make these tools as practical as possible to support public administrations in the responsible adoption of technology through a careful assessment of the trustworthiness of technology’s development and implementation. It is important to analyze the multidisciplinary aspects and implications of any technology that is adopted in the public sector. This project will be co-designed with public bodies, universities, and the involvement of Digital Innovation Hubs (DIHs) to help ensure strong involvement from stakeholders. Moreover, the framework will be tested and validated through four use cases, where public organizations will carry out pilots covering different sets of services and outreach levels.

Stay tuned for more updates in the future as the project progresses.

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