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Good Governance

Minister Audrey Tang: Using Technology to Enhance Democracy, Part 2 of 3



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“So, one of the winners for this year's social innovation Hackathon is the Circuit Plus, which in Mandarin is called ‘Feng Cha.’ ‘Feng Cha’ or ‘Tea Serving’ is a very venerated tradition in Taiwan (Formosa) where the shops put a very large pot of tea outside of their door for people who are thirsty to refill their cups. It’s like a self-serving water station.” “So, this is a game, based on not using plastic bottles, but rather using refills as a habit. Because we know that people who refill is a habit. And for people who buy fresh bottles, that is also a habit. And habits are very difficult to change. So, making a funny game where people would not think that, ‘Oh, I'm getting a water refill,’ but rather, ‘I am participating in the revitalization of peace and culture.’ And that is the angle that can get people to really change their behavior and save plastic bottles and save the planet.” “To me, AI (Artificial Intelligence) is ‘Assistive Intelligence’ meaning that, just like a human assistant, we would ask for their values to align with ours.” “So, it’s useful in three different areas. One is simply about saving time. There is a lot of public sector work that is routine, that is paper based. And for a paper-based copy, to make ten copies it’s ten times more time and resources, compared to making one copy. But in digital, making ten copies or making 10,000 copies, it’s the same time, the same resources. And so, in the digital world, making copies is essentially at no marginal cost.” “So aside from digitization, we also make optimization. For example, a lot of people in the Taiwan (Formosa) Water company are listening to water pipes for possible leaks, because in Taiwan (Formosa), water resource is an important thing. In the Keelung region, for example, it takes on average two months for a water leak to happen and to be discovered by the rotating people who listen to the pipe with a stethoscope-like device. So, using Assistive Intelligence, they built a chatbot as part of one of the Presidential Hackathons a couple years ago, so that the repair people can wake up and look at the chatbot, and the chatbot informs them that these are three likely leaking places, by analyzing the water pressure, water flow and things like that, and with 70-percent confidence.” “And finally, it could also lead to new ways to think about the public sector service.”
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