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AI Watch, road to the adoption of Artificial Intelligence by the public sector

This handbook is published in the context of AI Watch, the European Commission’s knowledge service to monitor the development, uptake and impact of AI for Europe, which was launched in December 2018 as part of the Coordinated Plan on the Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence Made in Europe. As part of the AI Watch, a specific Task addresses the role of AI for the public sector, and it is set out to provide actionable guidelines for the adoption of AI in the public sector in the EU. The public sector deserves special attention in this regard, as it differs from the private sector in a number of ways and features. First of all, the public sector mandate is the protection and sound management of citizens and public good, and it is administered by the rule of law. Based on these two fundamental principles, public sector administrations differ from private organisations in a number of characteristics underpinning their values, determining their objectives, instruments, roles and relationships with other actors. It is therefore likely that the conditions of adoption and use of AI technology in the public sector, cannot be modelled simply around those of private enterprises, and this in terms of aims, needs, operations, instruments and processes. The purpose of this handbook is to provide recommendations to policymakers and relevant stakeholders on the sensible adoption and use of AI in and by the public sector in Europe. Recommendations and actions provided in this handbook are intended to support forward-looking managers, practitioners and innovators throughout the public services delivery chain and at European, national and local governance levels. These recommendations stand to support the joint commitment taken by the European Commission, Member States, and Associated Countries, as outlined in the Coordinated Plan on Artificial Intelligence 2021 Review (“AI Coordinated Plan”). In its annexes, the handbook provides a mapping of the different Recommendations articulated into Actions and their competence at the operational level by the different stakeholders operating in this domain. The mapping of recommendations versus stakeholders are summarised in a self-explanatory table articulated around the selected areas of interventions and different operational levels.


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