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November 6, 2016

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Artificial intelligence fosters government efficiency


In this year’s IBLAC meeting, American International Group presented its views on the role of “Internet Plus” and artificial intelligence in building a more resilient, smart, and sustainable Shanghai. Shanghai Daily sits down with Eric Zheng, president and CEO of AIG China, to hear more about how AI can support Shanghai in building a more efficient administrative environment.

“A key first step to building a more efficient administrative environment in Shanghai is digitizing the large volume of government data. Attempting to do this manually not only requires a tremendous amount of time and effort, but also puts the security of the data itself at risk. This is not a realistic solution as it puts an enormous strain on government resources and data security. That’s where AI comes into play,” says Eric. “AI can quickly summarize information, protect privacy, and improve cross-department information sharing via something we call Natural Language Processing (NLP), which deals with the interactions between computers and humans.”

“NLP can also help us quickly understand and draw insights from the data collected in order to identify valuable patterns that can effectively support the decision-making process. Equipped with customized intelligent analysis based on real data, policymakers in the government can receive more accurate information and build customized searches to make better informed decisions about municipal governance. As a result, it will significantly improve the quality and efficiency of the government,” Eric further explains.

In its paper submitted to IBLAC, AIG discusses how it uses NLP algorithms to comb through insurance documents to reveal patterns and synthesize insights. In minutes, NLP algorithms can examine tens of thousands of pages of claim descriptions. It can then quantify them across multiple dimensions, including industry, line of business, geographic location, product, client, time, and cost.

Eric gives another example of where AI can play an essential role in supporting Shanghai’s government in building stronger communications with its citizens. Every day, the government receives numerous inquiries and requests and collects substantial amounts of data from its citizens. With limited human resources to provide timely and accurate replies, responding to citizens’ inquires has always been a challenge for the government. Technologies that have the “ability to think” can not only help the government provide real-time responses, but also process all inputs from the public to further tailor its communications with Shanghai’s citizens.

One of the major frontiers of AI is deep learning — the process by which computers learn through a system of interconnected layers, similar to the human neural system. In short, it enables computers to learn from the data in a much faster way than humans ever could. By analyzing and classifying the massive amounts of overlapping data through deep learning, AI is able to arrange and subdivide data to build digital profiles for each individual. What this means is that when someone submits an inquiry, the system recognizes the individual based on their records, and can provide a custom response in real time. “AI’s deep learning is a revolutionary technology, which can help Shanghai build a smarter, more tailored, and people-centric government”, says Eric.

Eric says city governments around the world are on a path to offering a truly connected citizen experience and to finding ways to improve administrative efficiency. AIG has made a significant investment in AI research and application development and is already seeing the value it brings to customers and operations in China.


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