International summit shows UK support for digital revolution

Technology ministers from across the world come together for the Digital Nations summit and determine steps towards a digital revolution.

The UK’s technology minister headed up an international summit of digital ministers across the world, whereby they discussed how to further the digital revolution, utilise technology to assist government institutions in providing better public services and meet the world’s greatest challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.

The annually held Digital Nations summit, which was hosted this year by the UK, saw digital ministers from the 10 Digital Nations governments Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Israel, Mexico, New Zealand, Portugal, Republic of Korea, and Uruguay. The ministers met virtually to consider the exciting prospects offered by Artificial Intelligence, big data, digital identity, as well as other revolutionary digital technology.

Digital revolution in the UK

The Digital Nations governments work alongside each other to address issues concerning the digital transformation of government, such as the technical design of digital government services. This includes the variety of online services on GOV.UK and the digital identity systems that facilitate the functioning of e-passports to – digital infrastructure, the development and use of data, digital tools and technologies, and the digital skills of civil servants and end-users.

Advancements in technology have helped to make vast and significant developments in the UK. For example, the NHS Blood and Transplant Service scanned health data to find donors urgently during the pandemic while better data sharing is revolutionising public services, with open banking models allowing those in financial need to share their income to HM Revenue & Customs to fast-track their applications for new welfare entitlements.

Improving government services

During this novel summit, the Minister for Tech and Digital Economy, Chris Philp, and his international counterparts came together by pledging to utilise digital technology to enhance government services and decision making. He pointed to the UK government’s recently published National AI Strategy as a significant illustration of commitments to increase the transparency of algorithmic-assisted decisions in the public sector and invest in upskilling the civil service in data sciences.

The 10 ministers came to an agreement to maintain the utilisation of digital technology to lessen the environmental impacts of government, narrow digital divides, and build trust in digital government services by putting safeguards in place on human rights, data protection, data and AI ethics and transparency.

Digital transformation essential for the future

Minister for Tech and Digital Economy Chris Philp said: “The last eighteen months have proven that digital transformation is no longer a ‘nice-to-have’, but an essential tool with the potential to improve lives by building more efficient and innovative public services.

“The UK is committed to harnessing the latest technology to deliver more on people’s priorities and level up the country, so it was a privilege to host this year’s Digital Nations summit to share insights with member countries and learn from their experience.

“Following the summit, the ten member nations published a joint statement reaffirming their commitment to work together to accelerate digital transformation, continue to use technology to break down barriers between government and people, and embrace innovative digital solutions that deliver real-world impact.”

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