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UK government set to trial “red box” tool to cut civil service jobs

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The UK Government is all set to utilize AI technology to take over some of the typical responsibilities of civil servants. As reported by the Financial Times, Oliver Dowden, the UK Deputy Prime Minister, is gearing up to launch a ‘red box’ tool to automate certain tasks typically performed by civil servants.

Meet the “red box”

According to reports, the ‘red box’ tool is designed to gather and condense information from sources such as the parliamentary record. Additionally, it is said that a similar second tool is currently under testing to handle tasks like personalized responses to parliamentary inquiries.

Dowden mentioned that tasks like these would normally involve 25 civil servants and take up to three months to complete. While the efficiency of these AI tools in comparison is not disclosed, it’s expected to significantly speed up the processes. Nevertheless, there is no need to panic as this tool is envisioned to complement human efforts rather than completely replace them.

“This is crucial if we aim to steadily reduce headcount,” Dowden stated to the Telegraph. “Since the Civil Service expanded due to the pandemic and preparations for EU exit, embracing these technologies is paramount to downsizing.”

He further pointed out that AI could potentially save the Government up to £24 billion, as per a recent report from the IPPR think tank.

Despite investing £110 million into this project, not everyone shares the same optimism.

John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, expressed to the Telegraph: “Rather than relying on technological advancements to address the overstaffed bureaucracy, ministers should take direct action to address the issue.”

Featured Image: Photo by George Dolgikh; Pexels

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