Estonia wants tech devs to improve its AI-led public services

Bürokratt is further evidence that Estonia recognises the power and need for digitalisation, particularly with respect to how public services operate from the user perspective.

The Estonian government has launched a new procurement process aimed at finding developers to work on the nation’s “Siri of digital public services”, Bürokratt.

Those with experience in software development, language technology, and machine learning are being called to lend their expertise to the programme, to directly shape and elevate the country’s leading AI programme, giving the chance to collaborate and work with Europe’s most digitally advanced government. 

Bringing together an interoperable network of AI applications, Bürokratt, an award-winning AI-solution, provides Estonia’s entire population with a range of voice-activated public services.

These services cut past bureaucratic processes making public services easier to use, more convenient, and easily accessible through virtual assistants and voice-based interaction. The highly successful initiative has elevated the Estonian government to become one of the most technologically sophisticated public services in the world.

AI-led public services

According to Andres Sutt, Estonia’s IT minister, “We take great pride in knowing that our AI-led public services have significantly improved the lives of many of our population, transforming the citizen user experience for the better.

“Since its launch in 2022, Bürokratt has saved users time and effort by enabling them to communicate with the government through one single point. Buoyed by the success of Bürokratt, we warmly welcome a range of expertise to support us in raising the service offering to even greater heights.’’

The Estonian government is now calling for qualified developers, data scientists, data analysts, and data architects from countries belonging to the World Trade Organisation with experience in software development, language technology, and machine learning to participate in the procurement process.

Launched on July 18, the deadline for applicants will close on August 26, and is open to a minimum team size of one person, with no requirements on a company’s history or previous work portfolio.

The process will run as a series of mini procurements for specific tasks. These will focus, primarily on privacy-enhancing technologies, developing AI for data-driven decision-making, language technologies, and Bürokratt.

Example tasks would include developing and extending privacy-enhancing technologies, working on AI innovation projects as part of government data and AI sandbox, establishing different language technologies, working on federated learning, publishing government-held data as synthetic data, developing and implementing machine learning solutions, training of a speech robot, replacing existing individual functionalities with more efficient systems, for instance, for customer service, and for voice- and sign-language based service provision.

More control

Ott Velsberg, the Estonian government’s chief data officer, says the country wants to provide citizens with more control over how their personal data is leveraged to access government services.

“We’re also looking to offer citizens the opportunity to share their data with the private sector, where they can explore and receive a range of additional services.

“For instance, when applying for a bank loan there will be no need for applicants to enter their data into a form, as all relevant information will be gathered automatically from the state’s databases. We look forward to welcoming a range of specialists to come and work with us and become part of one of the most technologically advanced government projects in Europe and contribute to the development of an AI gov stack that benefits the whole society.’’

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