How Will the State Think With the Assistance of ChatGPT? The Case of Customs as an Example of Generative Artificial Intelligence in Public Administrations

Paper by Thomas Cantens: “…discusses the implications of Generative Artificial Intelligence (GAI) in public administrations and the specific questions it raises compared to specialized and « numerical » AI, based on the example of Customs and the experience of the World Customs Organization in the field of AI and data strategy implementation in Member countries.

At the organizational level, the advantages of GAI include cost reduction through internalization of tasks, uniformity and correctness of administrative language, access to broad knowledge, and potential paradigm shifts in fraud detection. At this level, the paper highlights three facts that distinguish GAI from specialized AI : i) GAI is less associated to decision-making process than specialized AI in public administrations so far, ii) the risks usually associated with GAI are often similar to those previously associated with specialized AI, but, while certain risks remain pertinent, others lose significance due to the constraints imposed by the inherent limitations of GAI technology itself when implemented in public administrations, iii) training data corpus for GAI becomes a strategic asset for public administrations, maybe more than the algorithms themselves, which was not the case for specialized AI.

At the individual level, the paper emphasizes the “language-centric” nature of GAI in contrast to “number-centric” AI systems implemented within public administrations up until now. It discusses the risks of replacement or enslavement of civil servants to the machines by exploring the transformative impact of GAI on the intellectual production of the State. The paper pleads for the development of critical vigilance and critical thinking as specific skills for civil servants who are highly specialized and will have to think with the assistance of a machine that is eclectic by nature…(More)”.

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