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Prospects and challenges of using AI technologies in the regions of the Russian Federation

Research
4 September 2022

In this report the Center for Strategic Research (CSR) assesses, based on a survey of public officials, the readiness of executive bodies and local authorities to use AI technologies and reviews the pros and cons of working with such technologies.

The Roscongress Foundation presents the salient points of the publication accompanied by fragments of broadcasts of relevant panel discussions from the business programme of international events held by the Roscongress Foundation.

Analysts observe positive expectations of introducing AI technologies into the work of public authorities.

Although AI-based information systems and solutions largely remain «abstract, remote, and difficult to understand» for representatives of the public sector and are perceived as having little practical value as a tool for solving everyday tasks in managing the socio-economic situation, analysts observe some positive expectations of the process of introducing AI technologies in this field.

CSR experts note that the integrated paradigm of positive expectations of AI is based on a belief that this technology will help public bodies and local authorities attain proper efficiency in the context of rapidly growing complexity, both informational and communicative, of tasks associated with management and interaction with economic entities and the population.

The highest expectations about the speed of AI penetration are observed concerning the use of AI in the social sphere, real economy (industrial sectors), and management activities of public bodies. In particular, AI will help state and municipal authorities cope with the growing flow of service requests, optimize the operating model and processes in public agencies, and ensure the resilience of the queueing system infrastructure. The report says the prevalent opinion among the respondents is that AI will bring exponential growth in performance and responsiveness of state and municipal bodies.

Video: https://roscongress.org/sessions/splf-2022-pravovye-aspekty-organizatsii-grazhdanskogo-oborota-s-ispolzovaniem-tsifrovykh-platform/search/#00:09:09.887

Using AI is associated with a range of threats, including risks for humans and economic risks.

According to representatives of regional authorities, the principal risks carried by AI are, first, the so-called «risks for humans», meaning threats for personal information safety and threats of direct physical harm to individuals because of actions taken by AI-based systems, and second, risks related to employment and, consequently, financial situation. Also, respondents are concerned about economic risks, meaning high costs of implementing AI technologies and lack of the expected economic effect in the short-term and even in the long-term. Also, there is a strong opinion that AI implementation can entail additional expenditure which may greatly exceed initial investments and lead to a rise in project costs. Having reviewed these concerns, the authors of the report structured the factors constraining AI implementation in the Russian regions. Some of these factors include lack of financial resources, inadequate technological infrastructure and lack of funds for a modernization, lack of personnel and skills, and inadequacy of the regulatory framework which may become a significant constraint.

Video: https://roscongress.org/sessions/splf-2022-pravovye-aspekty-organizatsii-grazhdanskogo-oborota-s-ispolzovaniem-tsifrovykh-platform/search/#01:23:40.416

It is necessary to consider various factors when working with regional authorities on introducing AI.

The authors note that the factors affecting the speed of diffusion of AI technologies in the Russian regions are manifold. One of these factors, a fairly substantial one, is «personal trust». This means a strong belief of representatives of the public sector that before practical implementation of AI-based solutions, it is imperative to take a number of steps such as obtain documented recommendations (normative acts) from the federal center, conduct research, perform local experiments and tests. Another manifestation of the «personal trust» factor is the belief that training of public officials should mainly be conducted in the form of an on-site training in organizations which already use AI and can visually demonstrate its positive effects.

The authors of the report believe that the most effective and productive way to promote AI in the Russian regions is to build a comprehensive system which involves creating a federal digital platform to provide the regions with AI-based software solutions and services which will be directly integrated into existing processes on the regional level. The authors also point out that it is necessary to create a special-purpose system on the regional level in addition to the federal platform. This system must be mainly composed of regional IT companies and specialists. Such a system will make it possible to finalize and configure the tools provided by the federal center. The authors believe that consolidation of successful cases and ready-to-use AI models and practices, with their subsequent reapplication in other regions, will be an effective strategy when working with the regions. With time, this will bring substantial data enrichment and, as a consequence, more uniform and well-balanced models for creating integrated AI solutions.

Video: https://roscongress.org/sessions/splf-2022-avtomatizatsiya-sudoproizvodstva-stoit-li-zhdat-robota-sudyu-v-blizhayshem-budushchem/search/#00:26:17.728

Gain more insights about regional development and strategic planning of public projects in the Management of Public Projects and Regions of Russia sections of the Roscongress Information and Analytical System, and about the process of introducing new technologies in various spheres of life in the Artificial Intelligence, AI section.

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