The department of the Xunta de Galicia that is focused on elderly people and people with functional diversity usually has an open line of collaboration in innovation projects and improvement of public services (mainly thinking of the elderly and people with disabilities that is our target population). Although with these projects we will not see the results implemented in the short term (yes to medium) we consider that they are strategic for the development of Galicia and more so when it is a project in cooperation with other European entities such as the one we are dealing with today. We believe that the presence of Galicia in this type of initiatives is fundamental.
An example of this initiatives is the SIMPATICO project. This is a project that aims to simplify, as far as possible, the completion and access to electronic services for citizens and businesses, and which we have incorporated with the specific emphasis on seeking also that this simplification may be helpful for our target population (seniors and people with disabilities) with the difficulty that this entails. In this part, precisely, we have relied on three associations in this area such as FEGAUS, COGAMI and ATEGAL.
In Galicia, replicas of the e-services have been created for the evaluation, and the users (real citizens) have played fictitious characters in the interaction of the services. Thanks also to the liaison with citizens’ associations, this approach has allowed engaging many users in a relatively short time and has permitted a controlled A/B testing to compare e-service application with and without SIMPATICO tools. Specific emphasis has been dedicated to participatory design with civil servants and to the digital inclusion and engagement of vulnerable groups (elderlies, people with disabilities). While in this case the validation of SIMPATICO was done in a controlled environment, it allowed us to show a 25%-60% increase in the number of disadvantaged users (e.g. elderlies, people with disabilities…) that can complete the e-service autonomously. This is a very important result toward the achievement of social impact as it shows that AI techniques can help in bridging the digital divide and increase social inclusion.