Estonia Looks for Voice AI Developers to Build Bürokratt National Voice Assistant
Estonia is seeking voice AI developer partners to help build the Bürokratt AI voice assistant for government services released in its initial form earlier this year. Bürokratt is supposed to guide Estonians by conversation through finding and using public services, a concept enthusiastically pursued by a growing number of governmental organizations, including the national governments of India and Albania.
Bürokratt is the brainchild of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications as a way for citizens to accomplish tasks that would typically involve phone calls and trips to government offices by talking to a voice assistant. Estonia is designing Bürokratt to enable people to access public benefits, renew passports, complete tax forms, and related actions, but Estonia’s ambitions extend to more than call-and-response interactions. The ministry’s whitepaper includes plans for teaching the AI to proactively remind people about paperwork deadlines and tailor suggestions for necessary tasks based on who uses it. Personalizing the interactions paves the way for Bürokratt to submit forms and payments by voice for things like bank loans.
The new procurement plan begun by the Estonian government is soliciting partners to enhance the first version of Bürokratt, which earned the title of best AI-powered government service from the World Government Summit. The government said it is looking for developers working with conversational AI and machine learning specifically. The ministry will likely consider anyone or any group with software coding experience in the applications due by Aug. 26. The procurement is broken down into individual tasks like adding languages, generating synthetic voices, accessibility for speech or hearing impairments, and enhancing privacy.
“We take great pride in knowing that our AI-led public services have significantly improved the lives of many of our population, transforming the citizen user experience for the better. Since its launch in 2022, Bürokratt has saved users time and effort by enabling them to communicate with the government through one single point,” Estonian IT Minister Andres Sutt said. “Buoyed by the success of Bürokratt, we warmly welcome a range of expertise to support us in raising the service offering to even greater heights.”
Though Bürokratt was the first AI assistant of its kind from a national government, it wasn’t unique for long and may have kickstarted a trend. In India, the government’s new Umang (Unified Mobile Application for New-Age Governance) service built in partnership with conversational AI startup Senseforth can answer questions and provide government services in both voice assistant and chatbot forms and is working on extending its list of services. Meanwhile, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama unveiled plans for a national voice assistant in May to come out in less than a year. More limited experiments and smaller governments are also becoming more common. For instance, Morocco has a new virtual assistant to help citizens pay their taxes, and the city of Dubai created the ‘Fares’ AI as a voice assistant on the city’s hotline or as a chatbot through Dubai’s official WhatsApp number.