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UK Government Plans to Use AI to Cut Civil Service Jobs

The UK government has recently announced its plan to promote using artificial intelligence () to perform tasks usually done by civil servants. This announcement has raised concerns over two primary fears regarding : the information produced by these systems needs to be more robust, and it will unjustly take away jobs from people who won't make such careless mistakes.

According to the Financial Times, UK Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden is set to unveil a “red box” tool, which can reportedly absorb and summarize information from reputable sources such as the parliamentary record. A separate instrument is also being trialed that should work similarly but with individual responses to public consultations. While it is still being determined how quickly the tool can perform this work, Dowden claims it takes three months with 25 civil servants. However, the drafts would allegedly always be double-checked by a human and include sourcing.

Dowden argues that implementing is critical to cutting civil service jobs, something he wants to do. The Telegraph quoted him saying, “It really is the only way, I think, if we want to get on a sustainable path to headcount reduction. Remember how much the size of the Civil Service has grown as a result of the pandemic and EU exit preparedness. We need to really embrace this stuff to drive the numbers down.” Dowden's statement aligns with his boss, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's, hope to use to increase government productivity. Surprisingly, neither has offered to save money by giving their job.

To avoid any potential risks associated with , Dowden has shown some restraint in his plan. He noted in a pre-speech briefing that the government would not use for any “novel or contentious or highly politically sensitive areas.” Meanwhile, the Cabinet Office's division is set to grow from 30 to 70 employees and to get a new budget of £110 million ($139.1 million), up from £5 million ($6.3 million).

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