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    Citizens’ acceptance of Artificial Intelligence in public services: evidence from a conjoint experiment about processing permit applications

    Horvath, Laszlo and James, O. and Banducci, S. and Beduschi, A. (2023) Citizens’ acceptance of Artificial Intelligence in public services: evidence from a conjoint experiment about processing permit applications. Government Information Quarterly 40 (4), p. 101876. ISSN 0740-624X.

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    Citizens’ acceptance of artificial intelligence (AI) in public service delivery is important for its legitimate and effective use by government. Human involvement in AI systems has been suggested as a way to boost citizens’ acceptance and perceptions of these systems’ fairness. However, there is little empirical evidence to assess these claims. To address this gap, we conducted a pre-registered conjoint experiment in the UK regarding acceptance of AI in processing public permits: for immigration visas and parking permits. We hypothesise that greater human involvement boosts acceptance of AI in decision-making and associated perceptions of its fairness. We further hypothesise that greater human involvement mitigates the negative impact of certain AI features, such as inaccuracy, high cost, or data sharing. From our study, we find that more human involvement tends to increase acceptance, and that perceptions of fairness were less influenced. Yet, when substantial human discretion was introduced in parking permit scenarios, respondents preferred more limited human input. We found little evidence that human involvement moderates the impact of AI’s unfavourable attributes. System-level factors such as high accuracy, the presence of an appeals system, increased transparency, reduced cost, non-sharing of data, and the absence of private company involvement all boost both acceptance and perceived procedural fairness. We find limited evidence that individual characteristics affect these results. The findings show how the design of AI systems can increase its acceptability to citizens for use in public services.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Artificial Intelligence, public service, human involvement, conjoint experiment
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Birkbeck Centre for British Political Life
    Depositing User: Laszlo Horvath
    Date Deposited: 25 Oct 2023 12:56
    Last Modified: 18 Nov 2023 20:09


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