AI is expected to optimize and streamline the work done by 112 responders, Source: Depositphotos

ChatGPT will answer when you call 112 in Portugal, from 2025

ChatGPT will answer when you call 112 in Portugal, from 2025

The administration management, however, claims this will not result in the loss of human jobs

Yesterday, the Portuguese Ministry of Internal Administration (MAI) announced that it plans to overhaul the way the emergency phone service 112 works, starting in 2025. The big change will be the introduction of Artificial Intelligence based on ChatGPT technology in the answering of calls.

In principle, if the pilot goes well, we are prepared, from 2025, to start using this system to answer calls,” said deputy secretary-general António Pombeiro on the sidelines of MAI Tech, a tech conference in the areas of security and civil protection, organised by the Ministry in Porto.

Although the officials conceded that this is kind of entering uncharted waters since AI is a “very recent technology”, the argument went that it would greatly optimize the work of the service making it more efficient.

First-line responder and a prank filter

The way this is going to work is by having the automated chatbot pick up the initial calls, especially during busy times when phone lines can end up being congested – something that may result critical in certain situations of life and death.

Such peak situations, for example, are highly publicized incidents when many people feel the need to call the service. The thing is human resources are planned to operate at normal pressure levels on the phone lines, and such unusual situations can produce unnecessary stress on both callers and responders.

Periods of call congestion can mean five or six minutes before people hear a voice at the end of the line, which then can hardly be described as an emergency response. The idea, as the Portugal Resident reports, is to “create a first interface that answers the call, evaluates what kind of problem it relates to and what kind of report” is needed, but with “an answer in natural language”.

That means that people might not even be aware that they will be talking to a machine, and it will be up to the AI’s judgement to then transfer the call to a human.

Apart from the peak periods described, another issue is prank callers, which apparently total some 60% of the total phone line traffic! So, yes, the robots will be trained to recognize a common prank and filter it out.

Mr Pombeiro explained that the new technology implementation will not result in layoffs as human resources will still be needed as much to do the actual useful work, but now their efforts will be optimized.



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