The Imperative of Digital Literacy: Harnessing AI's Potential in Parliament

Strategic Partners



The permeation of artificial intelligence (AI) and digital technologies in various sectors, including parliamentary operations, demands a corresponding rise in digital literacy amongst Members of Parliament (MPs) and their staff. This discourse delves into potential mechanisms to promote digital literacy among parliamentary staff and MPs, thereby enabling them to effectively utilise these advanced technologies for better governance and public service.


The Centrality of Human Capital in the Technological Transformation


At the core of digital transformation processes, like the incorporation of AI into parliamentary operations, is the indispensable human factor. It is the workforce that facilitates the effective utilisation and adoption of these technological advancements, underscoring the critical need to improve their digital literacy. Hiring and retaining technologists across different functional areas of parliamentary operations represent a vital move towards enhancing digital literacy.


Technologists, in the broadest sense, include those involved in crafting technology policy to those immersed in the execution of digital service modernisation efforts. Their positioning should be widespread across all members’ offices and committee functions, not confined to specific technology-focused departments. This model encourages the smooth integration of technology into daily parliamentary activities and cultivates trust between technologists and other staff, fostering a transfer of digital skills.


The Role of Technologists in Cultivating Digital Literacy


When strategically integrated within the parliamentary setup, technologists act as the catalysts for change. They possess practical experience, knowledge, and the necessary background to handle digital tools and AI applications. Their expertise can substantially shape the final output, whether it’s a policy-related piece like a bill, hearing, or talking points, or a technological solution such as a software tool.


Consistent interaction with technologists allows parliamentary staff to naturally evolve their digital literacy. Daily discussions about the application of digital tools and AI to enhance work processes and outcomes stimulate a sense of curiosity and enthusiasm among staff members. They start exploring how these tools can improve their tasks, streamline workflows, and potentially revolutionise processes while maintaining institutional knowledge and optimising productivity.


Education as a Cornerstone


Besides the integration of technologists, formal education remains a pivotal component in fostering digital literacy. This education must be ongoing and responsive to the rapidly changing digital environment to ensure that MPs and their staff can remain abreast of the latest technological developments.


However, obstacles exist. A pressing concern is the identification of appropriate educators for these personnel in AI and related domains. Traditional entities, like schools of governance, may lack the capacity or resources to provide such specialised training. Partnerships with NGOs and private organisations leading in AI technology could provide a viable alternative. This approach introduces non-traditional educational resources into the parliamentary arena, aiding in bridging the knowledge gaps.


A Collective Endeavour


The development of a digitally literate parliament should be a collective endeavour that involves multiple stakeholders. Academia, often at the cutting edge of these technologies, plays a vital role in this process. By creating a network that incorporates all stakeholders, including the private sector and academia, to advance parliamentary digital literacy, the approach ensures inclusivity.




In conclusion, digital literacy is a necessity, not a luxury, for MPs and their staff as AI becomes an integral part of parliamentary operations. The key strategies for improving digital literacy in parliamentary settings include the incorporation of technologists, continuous education, and collaboration amongst all stakeholders. By prioritising digital literacy, parliamentary institutions can ensure they are fully equipped to maximise the benefits of AI and other digital tools, thereby improving governance and public service delivery.

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