Transformative impact of disruptive technologies in public services
The challenge is to assess the potential benefits and risks of using disruptive technologies in public administrations as well as the social impact, including the impact on public servants, of using them for government processes and governance (e.g. for registers, for archiving, for tax collection, for decision-making processes etc.). The political, ethical, socio-economic, legal and cultural implications of disruptive technologies and their acceptance are important not only for public administrations, but also for citizens.
The use of disruptive technologies (such as artificial intelligence and big data analytics, block chain, Internet of Things, virtual and augmented reality, simulations or gamification) in public administrations and in governance including citizens engagement, decision support systems and policy impact assessments is growing. Although the potential positive impact of such technologies is high, the ways in which they can disrupt the existing landscape of public services and legal procedures and can replace present solutions and processes are largely unknown. As a result, deploying these disruptive technologies in public administration requires experimentations and a thorough assessment of their potential impact, benefits and risks (e.g. excluding some parts of the population due to age / gender / disabilities / social inequality / lack of e-literacy…). This includes especially their ethical and legal consequences. Proposals should pilot the technology and should engage multidisciplinary partners including those from social sciences and humanities, stakeholders and users (both public servants and citizens if appropriate) to examine how emerging technologies can impact the public sector (including the impact on public servants and the relation between public services and citizens) and explore in a wide-ranging fashion the issues surrounding the use of these technologies in the public sector (incl. e.g. the impact on capital, labour and knowledge). One of such issues will be experimenting with Digital Innovation Hubs (DIHs) to engage innovative industrial suppliers such as startups, Govtech and innovative SMEs to pilot the adoption and use of disruptive technologies to improve public services.
Proposals should also lead to the development of implementations and/or business plans that would ensure the long-term sustainability of the services offered based on the used technology.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 3 and 4 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
The action will enable public authorities to develop pathways for the introduction of disruptive technologies while also addressing the societal challenges raised by such technologies. Based on a thorough understanding of users’ needs, the action will enhance knowledge on digital governance; develop new ways of providing public services, of ensuring public governance and of boosting public engagement with the help of disruptive technologies. It will also contribute to developing new practices, to optimising work processes and to integrating evidence-based decision-making processes in public services and in services such as health, education, culture, social welfare and mobility.