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Hansard Reporters seek to harness Artificial Intelligence to enhance efficiency

The Hansard Association of Kenya [HAK] has announced plans of tapping and leveraging the use of Artificial Intelligence [AI] to enhance efficiency in producing timely and accurate records of parliamentary proceedings.

The Association which brings members of Hansard reporters from both the National Parliament and County Assemblies termed the adoption of AI as a necessity to complement their work by enhancing the quality of records and their performance.

According to Serah Kioko, Deputy Clerk of the National Assembly, Hansard reports have for year’s strengthened accountability and transparency of legislative arms of government by capturing accurate records of parliamentary proceedings.

Ms Kioko said the integration of AI in the operations of Hansard departments will make work more efficient and allow for timely production of reports for consumption by the legislatures and other consumers such as Judiciary and civil societies.

The clerk emphasised that Artificial Intelligence will enable and ease the recording, transcription, translations, summarising and writing of Hansard reports of both a sitting of parliament or committee proceedings.

Speaking in Naivasha during the 6th Hansard Association of Kenya Annual Conference, Ms Kioko called for more collaboration with the county Hansard dockets to enhance their capacity to ensure reports produced meet quality demands.

“Adoption of AI in Hansard operations will greatly complement the human resources and therefore not a threat to replacing the personnel”, said Kioko.

According to Dennis Mutui, the clerk at Machakos County Assembly, the Hansard departments at the counties have been plagued by lack of modern equipment, inadequate funding and low staffing that have hampered their work.

Mutui however lauded the strides made in anchoring Hansard as core part of proceedings of county assemblies which he noted have enhanced accountability and transparency in matters transacted at the houses.

Serah Kioko, Deputy Clerk of the National Assembly addressing county heads of Hansard departments during the 6th Hansard Association of Kenya Annual Conference in Naivasha where she called for adoption and integration of Artificial Intelligence in their operations to enhance timely and accurate reports of parliamentary proceedings. Photo by Erastus Gichohi.

Mutui who was representing the Society of Clerks at the Table in Kenyan Legislatures [SOCATT- Kenya] said County Assemblies will henceforth broadcast live proceedings to ensure electorates follow their oversight and budget making processes.

He at the same time called for regular training of Hansard reports and editors in the age of AI that seeks to produce timely quality reports during the proceedings of legislatures.

On his part, Hansard Association of Kenya President George Wanjoko said they are engaging relevant government agencies to have the association registered which he said will enable lobbying for more funds to enhance hansard reports.

“Adoption of AI in Hansard reporting will provide timely and accurate records of legislatures as well as enhancing accountability and transparency”, said Wanjoko.

According to Res Ndilai, a member of the Association, the conference will enable participants to share ideas and unlock gridlocks on language use, publication of Hansard records as well as the integrations of new technologies in their operations.

Ms Ndilai at the same time called for development of common Hansard policy that will guide the operations of Hansard departments and personnel at both the National Parliament and County Assemblies.

By Erastus Gichohi

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