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Published on November 21st, 2021 📆 | 3578 Views ⚑

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UK technology revolution at Digital Nations summit

Confronting the world’s biggest challenges such as the pandemic, climate change, and inequality, the UK led a summit of digital ministers to revolutionise technology

The annual Digital Nations summit, founded in 2014, aims to expand technology in global governments to develop digital policy and to connect governments digitally.

Hosted this year by the UK, the summit saw digital ministers meet virtually to discuss the opportunities provided through artificial intelligence, big data, and digital identity.

The ten Digital Nations governments – Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Israel, Mexico, New Zealand, Portugal, Republic of Korea, and Uruguay – work together on issues relating to the digital transformation of government including the technical design of digital government services.

The idea is to use other government’s technological advancements to help improve our own, and vice versa.

“To harness the potential global power of digital technology and help one another to become even better digital governments”

An example of this can be seen with online services on GOV.UK, and the digital identity systems that enable e-passports to function, including digital infrastructure, the development and use of data, digital tools and technologies, and the digital skills of civil servants and end-users.

Technology is already improving the UK. For instance, the NHS Blood and Transplant Service scanned health data to find donors urgently in the beginning of COVID-19.

Better data sharing is additionally revolutionising public services, such as the open banking models allowing people who are financially struggling to share their income to HM Revenue & Customs to fast-track their applications for new welfare entitlements.

Chris Philp, Minister for Tech and Digital Economy, joined his international counterparts in committing to using digital technology to improve government services and decision making at the summit on November 18.

Pointing to the UK government’s National AI Strategy as a good example of commitments increasing the transparency of algorithmic-assisted decisions in the public sector and invest in upskilling the civil service in data sciences, he highlighted the potential to advance members’ international influence. 

Chris Philp said: “The last 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 technology to deliver more on people’s priorities and level up the country, so it was a privilege to host this year’s Digital Nations summit to share insights with member countries and learn from their experience.”

“Using technology to break down barriers between government and people”

Ministers agreed to use digital tech to reduce their government’s environmental impacts, as well as narrow digital divides, and build trust in digital government services by putting safeguards in place on human rights, data protection, data and AI ethics and transparency.

The ten member nations published a joint statement reaffirming their commitment to work together to accelerate digital transformation.

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