February 27, 2020

Estonia outlines plans for #KrattAI virtual assistant

By Robert Scammell

The Estonian government has outlined its vision for its network of public service artificial intelligence (AI) assistants, known as #KrattAI.

It would see people access public services and information via a conversation with an AI voice-assistant and carry out tasks such as submitting government forms.

“The concept of #KrattAI would allow people to get their government deeds done from any device and any majorly used virtual assistant in the future,” states a paper outlining the project, published this week.

It begins by describing a hypothetical scenario in which an AI assistant talks with a woman and renews her passport – all before she has finished her morning coffee.

The project will consist of an “interoperable network of public sector AI applications”, as opposed to one singular chatbot, so that if one AI goes down the system can continue to function. This will include agents, bots and AI assistants.

#KrattAI, which takes its name from a magical creature from Estonian mythology, forms part of Estonia’s AI strategy.

The challenges facing #KrattAI

Estonia is known for being a digital-first country, with its e-Estonia approach embracing technology in areas such as banking, education and voting. The European country already has 27 AI solutions deployed in the public sector and aims to have at least 50 AI use cases by the end of 2020.

Ensuring #KrattAI’s voice recognition technology understands the Estonian language, as well as creating a system that works across all operating systems and devices, will be a big challenge for the project.

In addition to the technical obstacles, privacy issues will have to be navigated carefully to ensure personal data is protected.

The Estonian government’s CIO Office, which is overseeing the project, said it will develop a “consent platform service” that gives citizens the option to make their data available to third parties, should they choose so.

The country aims to carry out a pilot of #KrattAI later this year and create a roadmap by the end of 2020.

The Estonian government will invest “at least” €10m between 2019 and 2021 in its AI strategy.

Read more: Consumers choose voice assistants over humans, report finds

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