The NSW Government AI Strategy is focused on improved service delivery and government decision-making. AI has the capability to play a key role in automating inefficient and manual processes to deliver better value to our customers and free up time for more critical or frontline work. AI can also assist in decision-making in relation to resource allocation based on community need.
AI will not be used to make unilateral decisions that impact our citizens or their human rights. We need to carefully monitor the consequences of decisions that AI might inform. AI is a tool to assist in decision-making, and service delivery, but any AI-informed decision remains the responsibility of the agency using the technology. Further, the NSW Government approach is clear that no AI-informed decision will be made without those impacted being able to access a quick and efficient review. Citizens should be able to understand how their data is being used and for what purpose.
Often, additional safeguards will need to be in place to ensure the right questions are being asked of the technology and that the correct legislative interpretation is informing the AI solution.
Recognising the speed at which technology develops, and the need to build our AI maturity, the NSW Government approach is an iterative one. The actions to be delivered over the next 12-18 months aim to build maturity in our use of AI and community understanding of its use before we review our approach and identify further improvements.
For example, we will provide information about AI, its use in government and how risks are managed. The immediate implementation of a mandatory AI Policy and User Guide aims to ensure a consistent approach to privacy, security, transparency and procurement of AI solutions. The Policy sets clear requirements that agencies must address before sourcing and using AI. The Policy and User Guide will be tested and refined over the next 12 months.
The Strategy has been informed by in-depth consultation with industry, university, government and non-government organisations. Feedback has been grouped into five key areas, each of which will be supported by an action plan.
Building public trust: Delivering and showcasing positive outcomes for the community will contribute to public trust, and trust will be strengthened by openly acknowledging the strengths and weaknesses of AI and managing potential risks.
Digital uplift: Building public sector digital skills: There should be a broad program of digital capability uplift for the NSW public sector which also incorporates upskilling on emerging technologies.
Building data capability: NSW citizens must have confidence that data for AI projects is used safely and securely, and in a way that is consistent with privacy and data sharing frameworks, and community expectations.
Procurement: We must leverage opportunities to update procurement frameworks through innovation and proofs of concepts to take more timely advantage of emerging technologies.
Innovation and collaboration: We must explore working closer with industry and academia to drive better service delivery and solve some of our most complex problems.
The themes are accompanied by NSW Government commitments against each. It is important to note that AI is a relatively new technology for government and that this Strategy outlines the first steps in building a consistent approach across the sector. We will further refine our approach as we test the AI Policy and User Guide, and identify new actions we can take at the whole of government level.
The NSW Government approach is based on an initial 12-18 month timetable, the measurement of which will inform our next AI work program. We will monitor AI projects to understand what is working and where we need to improve. For example, testing the AI Policy and User Guide to ensure they are achieving what is intended - a consistent, transparent and secure approach to AI across the sector. Further, all Strategy commitments to build maturity and capability will be measured and assessed.
In 12 months’ time we will:
- measure implementation of our commitments
- assess how these commitments have delivered value
- assess agency confidence in procuring and using AI solutions
- publish case studies of AI projects and the application of the Policy and User Guide
- gather feedback from our customers about AI-informed service delivery.