HomeTechAI chatbot to replace ministries ‘customer care’ to end government favours

AI chatbot to replace ministries ‘customer care’ to end government favours

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Malta’s government will deploy an Artificial Intelligence chatbot on Monday that will replace customer-facing employees, in a bid to curb the culture of dispensing favours or jobs to people calling at ministries.

The move, proposed by civil service top brass, was approved in the face of opposition from ministers who use “customer care” units to collect complaints from citizens, as well as cold-calling potential voters, to dispense favours.

Under pressure over the island’s rule of law record, the government will replace ministerial employees with AI chatbot Lumi.Chat40K, and will be the only digital-only interface with citizens.

Those who make use of Lumi.Chat will be able to access instant services – such as requests for a job, meeting the minister, or complaints about unfulfilled electoral promises – only if the chatbot is satisfied that the requests are justifiable, and then only under certain criteria.

Users will access the service through their eID. Based on their prompt to Lumi.Chat, the AI-powered chatbot will – based on the knowledge it has learnt on the last 59 years of Malta’s governance record and its laws – make a choice as to whether users’ requests are to acceded to.

Users will be limited to access the system a maximum of three times a month.

“This is a game-changer,” said a MITA source who was part of the team that developed Lumi.Chat and trained the AI chatbot to learn all about Malta’s last century of history, polling data, newspaper reports, elections, and laws. “Lumi.Chat will not stop government’s tradition of giving people jobs or wide access to the ministers… it will only filter them down to the most deserving of citizens, and weed out entirely unmeritorious requests from those who still believe that their partisan loyalty can be transposed into a benefit after the election.”

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