The advent of digital communication and the widespread use of social networks has brought about significant changes in how citizens perceive and engage with the ever-evolving socio-political landscape.
Social media comments concerning state institutions’ services, positive or negative, hold valuable insights into citizen satisfaction and act as a performance indicator for public administration. As a result, providing politicians with the necessary tools to gather and analyze this information is crucial for informed decision-making.
Humans.ai has taken it upon itself to harness the unlimited potential of artificial intelligence to create ION, a solution designed to streamline how public policies are conceived and capable of adapting to and addressing the dynamic needs of citizens. In this regard, ION functions as a governmental advisor, emerging as a bridge for real-time communication between citizens and decision-makers, aligned with the demands of the 21st century.
Recent studies highlight that citizens who use the Internet to contact government institutions experience higher satisfaction levels than traditional telephone or in-person visits. In Romania, where the Internet and social media are extensively utilized, Facebook-type applications have emerged as a means for citizens to engage with political decision-makers. Social media is slowly moving beyond facilitating interpersonal communication, playing an increasingly vital role in stimulating citizen engagement and democratic participation in the public sector. The results are promising, as social networks, compared to conventional citizen engagement, increase government transparency, public policy making, public service delivery, and knowledge management.
In a developing democracy, social media proves to be a convenient tool for citizens to express opinions individually and collectively, supporting shared viewpoints through petitions and groups. Social media platforms also raise awareness among citizens regarding government policies, eliciting instant feedback and prompting quicker resolutions to issues inconsistent with public opinion. Facebook and similar applications serve as real-time communication channels, empowering citizens to demand prompt responses from decision-makers.
Furthermore, social media features enable public representatives to establish direct connections with citizens, enhancing their understanding of public opinion and response capabilities. By using these platforms, governments can foster greater citizen involvement in the decision-making process. Overall, social media’s role in engaging citizens and improving communication with decision-makers can lead to more effective and inclusive governance.
ION harnesses artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and computational vision to swiftly and autonomously capture citizen opinions. By utilizing publicly available data from social networks, ION aims to disseminate comprehensive information to decision-makers, aiding them in formulating public policies that accurately reflect society’s needs and concerns.
Employing artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and computer vision, ION efficiently captures and analyzes citizen opinions sourced from social media platforms. Technical aspects involve utilizing algorithms, unsupervised learning methods, and deep neural networks to automatically identify topics of interest to public administration. These topics are then prioritized based on their impact on the public sector, delivering essential insights to decision-makers and lawmakers at the local and national levels. As a modern version of the ancient Agora, ION serves as a vital link between citizens and decision-makers, ensuring that every voice is heard and valued.
✔ Identification, Extraction, and Clustering of Relevant Information for Policy Makers:
The initial step involves engaging citizens directly in the decision-making process by evaluating influential posts on social networks. Technical analysis, based on metrics such as likes and comments on Facebook or similar platforms, helps determine relevant topics of interest.
Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Deep Learning methods aid in identifying these topics, which are then grouped based on their meaning and sentiment (positive or negative) using unsupervised learning techniques. The ultimate goal is to empower governmental decision-makers to demonstrate their commitment to addressing the needs and concerns of Romanian citizens effectively.
✔Information Dissemination to Political Decision-Makers, aligned with the “Need to Know” Principle, for Implementing Relevant Public Policies:
Once socially relevant topics are identified, continuous tracking enables a deeper understanding of their dynamics and evolving importance over time. Artificial intelligence facilitates the creation of a dynamic collective voice for Romanian citizens, reflecting their needs and concerns. This online voice provides politicians with opportunities to develop and implement more relevant and effective public policies that align with society’s evolving requirements. Moreover, AI’s ability to prioritize and categorize identified topics based on their relevance streamlines information dissemination to political decision-makers, following the “need-to-know” principle and optimizing the operations of public institutions.
1. The Ethical dilemma
The ethical dimension surrounding artificial intelligence has gained significant attention, given its pivotal role in economic and social transformations. Unsurprisingly, governments worldwide are starting to recognize the potential of AI in shaping decision-making processes and organizational structures. There is a prevailing consensus that ethical AI necessitates principles such as fairness, transparency, confidentiality, human safety, and intelligibility, all of which can be supported by fair, transparent, secure, and easily understandable algorithms.
In the context of the ION project, cutting-edge technology and research in AI, natural language processing, and computer vision are utilized to develop an intelligent system that efficiently captures the opinions of Romanians from publicly available data on social networks. The ultimate objective is to disseminate conclusive information to policymakers, facilitating the formulation of public policies that align with the state of society.
To uphold data confidentiality, prevent unwanted surveillance, and ensure users’ authentic, anonymous, and secure involvement, several measures are implemented within the ION project:
✔ User Consent: Prioritizing explicit and informed user consent before collecting and utilizing their data.
✔Transparent Privacy Policies: The ION project adopts clear and transparent privacy policies, providing insights into data collection, storage, and usage.
✔Private Data Storage: Public data obtained from platforms like Facebook is securely stored using transparent and decentralized blockchain technology. This approach eliminates the possibility of manipulation by any public or private entity. AI algorithms categorize and distribute information based on the “need-to-know” policy, granting authorized individuals exclusive access to relevant information for informed decision-making in public policies.
✔Data Encryption: Deploying data encryption safeguards confidential information, complementing data anonymization for enhanced security.
Addressing the ethical considerations surrounding AI implementation in projects like ION ensures responsible and accountable utilization of advanced technologies for the betterment of society.
Discrimination in projects involving artificial intelligence and public policies is a significant ethical concern, wherein collected data may be unfairly used, impacting specific groups or communities. Discrimination can occur due to biases in data, such as cultural, racial, or gender biases, influencing political decisions unjustly. Additionally, uncalibrated algorithms may lead to discriminatory outcomes, and the absence of adequate representation of marginalized groups in collected data can result in unfair political decisions.
To address the issue of discrimination, the ION project and other similar initiatives need to employ several methods:
✔Checking for Bias in Data: The system will be trained to identify and eliminate cultural, racial, or gender bias in collected data, ensuring fairness and unbiased decision-making.
✔Calibration of Algorithms: Algorithms used in the project will be accurately calibrated to avoid favoring certain groups or communities, promoting equitable outcomes.
✔Adequate Representation of marginalized groups: Systems will be trained to ensure sufficient representation of marginalized groups in the collected data, preventing unfair treatment in political decisions.
Another red flag is raised by false Facebook accounts and bots, which can manipulate the political decision-making process. These entities disseminate distorted information to manipulate public opinions, compromising the integrity of political decisions. To prevent discrimination, measures like identity verification, content monitoring, and transparency need to be implemented, safeguarding the decision-making process from biased influences and promoting equitable outcomes.
In the modern technological era, public institutions must also play a role in innovation and information management, aiming to meet citizens’ expectations by providing efficient and proactive services. The lack of a digital strategy can hinder governments from transforming their services effectively.
Leveraging artificial intelligence offers significant opportunities to address challenges in public administration, enabling faster, cost-effective, and efficient actions and achieving objectives in the public sphere.
The ION project exemplifies this approach, serving as the missing link for real-time communication between citizens and governments. By utilizing new technologies to capture citizens’ opinions from social networks, the project seeks to provide conclusive information to political decision-makers to shape public policies that align with society’s needs.