Government ‘hackathon’ to search for ways to use AI to cut asylum backlog

For all the legitimate worries about AI and algorithms, many forget that human systems have similar biases and the additional issue of inconsistencies (see Kahneman’s Noise). Given numbers, irresponsible not to develop these tools, but take steps to avoid bias. And I think we need to get off the mindset that every case is unique as many, if not most, have more commonalities than differences:

The Home Office plans to use artificial intelligence to reduce the asylum backlog, and is launching a three-day hackathon in the search for quicker ways to process the 138,052 undecided asylum cases.

The government is convening academics, tech experts, civil servants and business people to form 15 multidisciplinary teams tasked with brainstorming solutions to the backlog. Teams will be invited to compete to find the most innovative solutions, and will present their ideas to a panel of judges. The winners are expected to meet the prime minister, Rishi Sunak, in Downing Street for a prize-giving ceremony.

Inspired by Silicon Valley’s approach to problem-solving, the hackathon will take place in London and Peterborough in May. One possible method of speeding up the processing of asylum claims, discussed in preliminary talks before the event, involves establishing whether AI can be used to transcribe and analyse the Home Office’s huge existing database of thousands of hours of previous asylum interviews, to identify trends.

Source: Government ‘hackathon’ to search for ways to use AI to cut asylum backlog

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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