Artificial Intelligence (AI): The Future of Data

With the public release of large language models like Chat GPT putting Artificial Intelligence (AI) firmly on our radar, the latest episode of Statistically Speaking explores what benefits this technology might hold for statistics and analysis, as well as policymaking and public services.

Joining podcast host, Miles Fletcher, to discuss the groundbreaking work being done in this area by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and across the wider UK Government scene are: Osama Rahman, Director of the ONS Data Science Campus; Richard Campbell, Head of Reproducible Data Science and Analysis; and Sam Rose, Deputy Director of Advanced Analytics and Head of Data Science and AI at the Department for Transport.

Richard says: “We’re always keen to look at how we can automate processes and make them more efficient. It frees up the time of our analysts to conduct more work. It means that we are more cost effective. It means that our statistics have better quality. It’s something we’ve done for years but AI offers some new opportunities to do that.”

Sam adds: “It’s not about doing our jobs for us, but about improving how we do our jobs and being able to do more with less.

“In some instances this technology can do tasks that we wouldn’t have been able to do with just humans.”

The podcast also dives into the importance of ethics when it comes to the adoption of new technology, and the need to ensure that every use of AI is carried out safely and responsibly.

Osama says: “I think for analysts and data scientists and specialists across government, this is kind of built into their DNA.

“If AI is going to be used for decision making then having a human in the loop is quite important to make sure that the use is ethical.

“There’s a bunch of safety checks that we do, which allow for us to have some assurance that the use of these tools will be safe and ethical.

You can listen to the full podcast episode here.