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Artificial intelligence to free up government manpower

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An aerial view of Bermuda (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Artificial intelligence can streamline government services without replacing workers — starting with the Department of Immigration, the House of Assembly heard during the 2024-25 Budget Statement.

David Burt told MPs that an unnamed local company would be taken on to put AI to use in the vetting of applications and free up frontline staff to tackle “more complex tasks”.

The Premier credited the input of the Association of Bermuda International Companies for linking the Government with the partner firm.

He added: “Continued deployment of AI in government departments will not only enable us to serve the people of Bermuda more efficiently, but as our economy continues to expand, it will reduce the pressures of hiring additional persons to complete the various tasks of government.”

The new Budget earmarked an extra $2.4 million in capital funding, a 68 per cent increase, for the Department of Information and Digital Technologies for “upgrades to network infrastructure, cybersecurity and server upgrades”, Mr Burt said.

Additional funding has also been allocated to staff the digital transformation team.

IT investment chart from the Budget Statement

Mr Burt said the investments in IT during recent years had proved insufficient, with a requirement to “redouble our efforts to ensure that the Government can be better protected in the future, as cyberthreats continue to increase”.

He referenced the “malicious and deliberate cyberattack in September which severely crippled government systems”.

Mr Burt said the 2024-25 Budget would fund shifting the Government's e-mail systems over to cloud computing with “modern applications to ensure that in the event of any future attack, the Government's core e-mail system will still function and we will be able to communicate”.

“Artificial intelligence systems require that data be in the cloud, and the increase in funding to IDT will commence that process this year.”

A number of government services will move online to improve efficiency, Mr Burt said.

The planning department is to develop “an online platform showcasing development opportunities at currently unused sites that have development potential”, including properties with agricultural potential.

The Premier highlighted funding to deliver an online payment portal for the Accountant-General, and for the Department of Social Insurance to upgrade the pension administration system for online applications and search functions.

The Office of the Tax Commissioner was allocated additional funding to modernise its systems, including improved online tax payments.

The Ministry of Home Affairs is to develop a digital questionnaire to assess properties for land tax, and applications for birth death and marriage records will move online along with forms for dog licensing.

Mr Burt also said that digital fare media was in the works for buses and ferries, marking “a milestone in public transportation” — while the Bermuda National Library is to further digitise its resources.

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Published February 17, 2024 at 7:52 am (Updated February 17, 2024 at 7:55 am)

Artificial intelligence to free up government manpower

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