My Next Book – ‘AI and The Future of Public Services’

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Tony Boobier
by Tony Boobier

I remember writing my first book, which I started thinking about nearly a decade ago. Before long, I had not only become a published author, but had managed a ‘hat trick’ of three published books, with a number of unpublished personal books sitting on the side lines.

So, with three published books under my belt, my ‘hat trick’ of publications, I really thought that enough was enough. After all, writing is not a painless process. Not only does one need to think about the topic but also to craft that thinking into a form of words which is not only compelling but for the publishers (in my case, Wiley), to be commercially attractive.

But the pandemic happened. And like many other people, not only did I think about the future of the world as Governments poured money into the problem, but I also thought about the future of the public services that we were all relying on.

I reflected on the pressures faced by healthcare, both for those with injury or illness, but also for the provision of care for the elderly. I thought also about how education was being affected, and how the police services were coping with those who were expressing their own personal feelings on the street. And also, how towns and regions would increasingly find the lifeblood of cash cut from them, as a budgets were invariably slashed to pay for other things.

One of the great victims of the pandemic would be the impact on the public sector and, ultimately, on the citizen.

But there was another side to the story. Elsewhere in town, the private sector were reinventing themselves through the use of data, analytics and ultimately the use of AI in its many different forms. I realised that the pandemic might in fact be the great catalyst which would bring advanced technology into the public sector.

Where was there evidence of this happening already, what might happen next, and how to implement?

Who were the stakeholders, what were the real arguments for change, and could the public even be nudged into accepting new ideas which were alien to them? And how might the State reinvent itself, in this new era of data, analytics and greater insight?

The new book has ended up as some sort of a cross between analytics and AI, political science and complex implementation. As I write (in March 2022), it’s in what is known as ‘pre-production’, which feels a little like sitting in the waiting room of the Maternity Ward. You know (or think) that ‘it’s’ yours, but what will it really be like?

I wonder if my book, and my thinking, will create somehow create increased focus on the use of technology in the public sector?

Tony Boobier