The annual Digital Nations Summit, hosted this year by the UK, saw digital ministers from Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Israel, Mexico, New Zealand, Portugal, the Republic from Korea and Uruguay to meet virtually to discuss the opportunities artificial intelligence, big data, digital identity and other advanced technologies could offer.
The ten Digital Nations governments are working together on issues related to the digital transformation of government, including the technical design of digital government services – such as the range of online services on GOV.UK and the digital identity systems that enable e-passports to function – digital infrastructure, development and use of data, digital tools and technologies, and digital skills of officials and end-users.
Technology is already helping to bring about improvements in the UK. For example, the NHS Blood and Transplant Service has been scanning health data to find donors urgently during the pandemic, while better data sharing is revolutionizing public services, with open banking models allowing those in need to share their income with HM Revenue & Customs to speed up their applications for new social rights.
At today’s event, Minister for Technology and the Digital Economy, Chris Philp, joined his international counterparts in committing to using digital technology to improve government services and the decision making. He cited the UK government’s recently released National AI Strategy as a good example of commitments to increase transparency in algorithm-assisted decision-making in the public sector and to invest in civil service development in data science. .
Ministers agreed to continue to use digital technology to reduce the environmental impacts of government, reduce digital divides and build trust in digital government services by putting in place safeguards on human rights, data protection , ethics and transparency of data and AI.
Technology and Digital Economy Minister Chris Philp said:
The past eighteen months have proven that digital transformation is no longer a “nice to have”, but an essential tool with the potential to improve lives by building more efficient and innovative public services.
The UK is committed to harnessing the latest technologies to better meet people’s priorities and improve the country. It was therefore a privilege to host this year’s Digital Nations Summit to share ideas with member countries and learn from their experience.
Following the summit, the ten member countries issued a joint statement reaffirming their commitment to work together to accelerate digital transformation, continue to use technology to break down barriers between government and citizens, and embrace innovative digital solutions that have a real impact.