Estonia’s Government AI Starts in Healthcare Next

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Ott Veslberg, Estonia’s chief data officer, wants a government AI to work in every aspect of the country’s public services, and healthcare is next (via Sifted).

Government AI

Estonia worked with Microsoft and the World Bank on a solution that scans healthcare records to help doctors figure out when to schedule a patient’s next checkup. In another project, the AI would create personalized sports advice for teenagers, taking into account puberty and recommend an appropriate workout plan.

Government AI

We’re not telling people what to do, we are giving options to consider. You can still make up your own mind. The government can never go to the individual level of telling you what to do. That might happen in China but not in Estonia, or in Europe as a whole…

I haven’t seen any negative reaction to the use of AI [in Estonia]. Everyone is used to everything being digital. The government is being extremely transparent and everyone can see what data is being collected.

Estonia already automates 16 government processes with machine learning, and has a €10m fund to help get innovative projects, not just AI ones, started. There is also a €5m fund for “very experimental” ideas that still need testing.

There have been successes in using machine learning. For example, the system goes through a person’s work history to match them with a job they are best suited for. About 72% of people who got a suggestion were still employed six months later. This is compared to the 58% with a human advisor.

Estonia has also saved €665,000 in farming subsidies using machine learning and satellite images to find if farmers have actually mown their hay fields or not to qualify for a payout. This has been 85% accurate.

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