Artificial Intelligence

AI and e-Governance Key to Access Information in Digital World

Experts to explore AI and e-Governance opportunities to bridge Cambodia's digital divide and improve access to information at a panel discussion
Online marketplace serves SMEs to sell their products. Kiripost/Siv Channa
Online marketplace serves SMEs to sell their products. Kiripost/Siv Channa

UNESCO and Cambodia Academy of Digital Technology (CADT) are slated to hold talks on Access to Information 2022 on Friday, when panelists will discuss Artificial Intelligence (AI) and e-Governance, which they say can play an important role in improving access to information in the digital world.

UNESCO said in its concept note on Monday that AI and e-Governnace can help bridge the digital divide by giving citizens access to tailor-made and accessible information. They can assure services that are more efficient and citizens can source public sector information and services nearly instantly.

“Making government services digital enhances transparency and accessibility,” UNESCO said.

UNESCO added that, in collaboration with CADT, it will organize a series of talks, where stakeholders can learn more from the country’s top experts about the current status of AI, the development of the internet, the efforts towards e-Governance in Cambodia, and how these impact the right to access information.

The talks are to raise awareness among stakeholders on the opportunities, impacts and risks of AI, and the current development of e-Governance framework on the rights and ability to access information in the country, the concept note said.

UNESCO said these developments also raise questions about fundamental rights and ethical use of AI and e-Governance by public institutions.

“Since AI uses citizen data, how do we protect the privacy of citizens? Because Artificial Intelligence can determine what information we access, on which ethical principles is this determined?”

Chea Vandeth, Minister of the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, will speak at the event, while En Sovann, Technical Advisor to the Ministry, will talk about AI, how it is used in practice and how AI affects the way people consume and receive information. Sovann will also talk about how the private information of the users can be protected and used in an ethical manner in the digital age.

Prach Chanoudom, Research Coordinator at Digital Research and Development Center, will talk about the application of AI in Cambodia and the opportunities and challenges in adopting it, as well as how it potentially affects the way people consume and receive information in the future, with real case example of how AI can affect the way of people’s living in Cambodia from existing AI tools.

Chanty Pisal, Director of Digital and Innovation Policy Research and Researcher of Assessing Internet Development in Cambodia, will present the preliminary findings of the Assessment of Internet Development being conducted by CADT with the support of UNESCO and will focus on the “Access” and “Openness” of the internet in Cambodia.

Pisal will also discuss what the challenges are, ranging from digital connectivity and open data, to digital literacy that refrains citizens from accessing information. He will also explore what the government and relevant stakeholders can do to tackle these challenges.

Oung Chanthol, Executive Director of Cambodian Women's Crisis Center (WMC), a representative of A2I Working Group, will discuss issues such as public bodies increasing their use of digital solutions, with AI being used to support e-Governance systems and aid decision making, it is essential that these processes are subject to the same transparency and accountability as traditional administrative processes.

Chanthol will also talk about how the digitization of government services is also still partial, with a paucity of data in some sectors of government and too few decisions benefiting from data-driven evidence.

In this context it is important that civic space, accountability and public participation in the digital era is protected and promoted.