Government is investigating use of artificial intelligence tool to assist civil servants – Mothership.SG

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The government is exploring how big language models, such as those underpinning ChatGPT, can help officials do their jobs more effectively, Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information Janil Puthucheary said.

He added that this is part of an effort to use technology and encourage innovation and productivity in the public sector.

Puthucheary responded to a parliamentary question by PAP MP Yip Hon Weng on Feb. 28 about the use of ChatGPT by officials in drafting reports and how the government ensures the accuracy of reports and speeches supported by ChatGPT.

Pair to assist officials in writing

In response to Yip’s question, Puthucheary shared that one of those efforts was the development of Pair.

The system will assist officials with parts of the writing process, e.g. B. summarizing long reference materials, exploring related ideas, and improving clarity in writing.

Pair is still under development, Janil said, and the government will pilot it with a range of agencies and carefully evaluate the results before determining how best to roll it out to the broader civil service.

Highly confidential and sensitive information still written by officials

The government also has an agreement with Azure Open AI that government information will remain confidential.

In addition to the technical safeguards, Janil assured the house that works containing highly confidential or sensitive information will continue to be written exclusively by officials.

“As the name Pair suggests, it is intended to serve as a tool that officers can use to improve their productivity, rather than completely automating the writing process,” he said.

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Officials using the tool remain directly responsible for making policy decisions, as well as creating, refining and customizing the content of the documents to ensure they are relevant, accurate and appropriate, he added.

“The government is committed to ensuring that we are well-positioned to benefit from innovations like ChatGPT while managing the risks involved,” he said.

Still in the early stages

In a follow-up question, Yip asked if affected officials would be transferred to other departments or take other forms of work.

In response, Puthucheary said that experience in other parts of the government in using productivity tools has led not so much to a reallocation of staff as to a re-development of job roles and duties that civil servants are engaged in.

The impact of this tool remains to be seen as it is still in its infancy.

You can see his answer here.

Top images via MCI/YouTube and Rolf van Root on Unsplash