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Source: Alloa & Hillfoots Advertiser as of 12-03-2020

ARTIFICIAL intelligence and algorithms could help enhance care in the Wee County while freeing up council staff from administrative burdens. Technology is going to play an increasingly important part in Clackmannanshire Council’s organisational redesign, which underpins the budget agreed at the end of last month.

The local authority is looking to use digital technologies to improve its efficiency and free up staff to work on more complex areas. Documents tabled at Kilncraigs explained that technology will be used to “improve the accessibility of public services through the use of enhanced online facilities, and to process high volumes of transactional enquiries by automating such systems”.

During the budget meeting, Councillor Helen Lewis explained that “the buzzword is algorithms” and that technology can allow the council to use data to keep people safer or to enable earlier and more effective interventions.

Speaking after the budget meeting, council leader Cllr Ellen Forson told the Advertiser: “Technology is going to play a huge part and a lot of it will be through automation.

“The internal processes within the council, if we can start to automate them it frees up officers to have more time to actually spend on the day-to-day interactions with people and that’s the important thing.”

An algorithm, in computing science, is a well-defined set of rules and instructions for calculations and problem solving.

They can be used for pattern recognition to analyse data and Cllr Lewis said this could be used to provide better services and keep people safer. Pattern recognition is also closely related to machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), which could play a role when it comes to providing care for people.

Cllr Forson added: “See for example Primrose Street where we are building the accommodation that’s going to be focused on elderly people. “There’s a real chance there to get innovative technologies in place. “For example, the person who lives in the house gets up every morning at 7am and switches on the kettle.

“If one morning they don’t get up at 7am, it gets to maybe 7.45am, maybe a message can be sent to the care providers to say it might be worth going to check and see how this person is. “That’s one example where AI can start to make a difference.

“It’s providing solutions for people in their own homes but also allowing care to be provided as and when required.” With an increasingly older population predicted for the Wee County Cllr Forson added that “we are going to have to become much more inventive in how we do things”.

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