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Strengthening AI competence in the public sector

Launching the course AI for leaders in the public sector, the goal is to reach at least 800 politicians, managers and leaders in municipalities, regions and authorities by 2021. The training aims to effectively and inspiringly educate the target group, bringing Sweden closer to the goal of becoming the best in the world at realizing the possibilities of artificial intelligence.

At AI Innovation of Sweden, we see significant needs regarding AI competence throughout society. Knowledge about technical solutions, data quality, legal and ethical aspects, and so on is especially important when discussing, piloting, or adopting AI solutions in the public sector. In this project, aimed at politicians and leaders in the public sector, we work together with The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SKR) and management consultant firm Governo.

There is a great need for increased knowledge about artificial intelligence. This is especially true in the public sector, where AI is part of many of the solutions to the challenges at hand

– Louise Callenberg, head of the division for digital renewal and collaboration at SKR.

National launch this summer

AI for leaders in the public sector is a joint effort where SKR, AI Innovation of Sweden, and Governo work together to raise knowledge and awareness. The course is now being finalized, and pilots are scheduled, after which the national launch will take place in conjunction with the conference 'Offentliga rummet' in early June.

“We are now seeing more and more actors in the public sector getting started with AI projects. Some have tested AI on a smaller scale, others have begun to think about how the technology can help solve some of their most important challenges,” says Caroline Andersson, CEO of Governo.

“AI is here to stay, and for us to make full use of the potential, more people at the decision-making level need to have basic knowledge of the subject.”

Different types of skills needed

Over just a few years, AI has gone from a relatively unknown subject for most people to being singled out as a solution for significant efficiencies, increased quality, and completely new ways of working and ways of delivering services for the public sector. But for the changes to become a reality, both in-depth specialist knowledge and increased general knowledge are required. And since solutions are usually not developed internally among individual public actors, it is vital to strengthen their ability to define and evaluate requirements.

The training, divided into a self-study tutorial part and a workshop part, comprising one day each, is adapted to be conducted digitally.

The workshop will be offered as a physical event around Sweden when circumstances allow. In the workshop, people from different organizations meet with the focus on what leveraging AI brings for leadership, organization, and decision-making.

The self-study part deals with what AI is and how AI solutions work. Possible use cases for the public sector are brought up, as well as how digitization/digitalization is related to AI. Furthermore, the role of accessible data, necessary technical choices, ethical and legal issues are also highlighted.

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