Mapping Artificial Intelligence Use in the Government of Canada

I have a short paper coming out soon in the Governance Review, entitled “Mapping Artificial Intelligence Use in the Government of Canada“. In particular, I offer a typology of use cases for AI systems and some critical observations on some of the uses.

Here is the abstract:

On the one hand, technological advances and their enthusiastic uptake by government entities are seen as a push toward a Canadian dystopic state, with friendly bureaucrats being replaced by impassive machines. On the other hand, embracing technology is considered a confident move of the Canadian administrative state toward an utopian low-cost, high-impact decision making process.

I will suggest in this paper that the truth—for the moment, at least—lies somewhere between the extremes of dystopia and utopia. In the federal public administration, technology is being deployed in a variety of areas, but rarely, if ever, displacing human decision making. Indeed, technology tends to be leveraged in areas of public policy that don’t involve any settling of benefits, statuses, licenses, and so on.

We are still a long way from sophisticated machine learning tools deciding whether marriages are genuine, whether tax payers are compliant or whether nuclear facilities are safe. The reality is more down to earth.

In this paper, I map out the uses of algorithms and machine learning in the federal public administration in Canada. I will briefly explain my methodology in Part I; in Part II, I identify seven different use cases, which I describe with the aid of representative examples, and offer some critical reflections.

Download it here.

This content has been updated on May 25, 2023 at 16:07.