UK government trials AI-powered chatbot to improve user experience on GOV.UK

The UK government is testing GOV.UK Chat, an AI-powered chatbot using technology from ChatGPT to help users find info and answer questions on the official website. This ‘natural language interface’ aims to enhance user experience without using personal data.

 Adult, Female, Person, Woman, Face, Head, Light

The UK government is currently trialling an AI-driven chatbot known as GOV.UK Chat, powered by technology developed by the company responsible for ChatGPT. This chatbot’s purpose is to assist users in locating information and addressing inquiries on the official GOV.UK website. It employs a natural language interface, allowing users to ask questions and receive responses that resemble human language. When a question is asked, the system filters out web pages containing sensitive personal information on the government’s website. Relevant webpages are then transmitted to OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT, which processes the question and formulates a response that mimics human language based on the available content. The chat history is retained by the Government Digital Service (GDS) for assessment, while search queries sent through an API to OpenAI are stored for up to 30 days for monitoring purposes.

Why does this matter?

This initiative is currently in an experimental phase, with the goal of enhancing the user experience on the government website. The use of generative AI tools in government has faced scrutiny, with guidelines restricting their use in composing policy documents. Nevertheless, they can be employed with care and thoughtfulness in other roles, as emphasized by AI minister Viscount Camrose. According to GOV.UK no personal data will be utilized in this trial, and users are cautioned against including personal data in their questions.