The future of the personalised state

Public services can be personalised and made more efficient by applying artificial intelligence capabilities to data held in the public sector. In most cases, this requires the mutual integration or cross-use of data from different sectors of society, such as healthcare, education, employment or situations related to assets.

For example, elderly people could be offered personalised healthcare services based on their health history and lifestyle, while young people would be offered educational and career counselling tailored to their personal interests and strengths evident in their studies. In social welfare, different risk groups can be identified, including those at risk of unemployment or poverty, and they can be provided relevant services in a timely manner. In education, it is possible to create personalised curricula and customised learning materials that match students’ individual learning preferences and earlier academic performance. In healthcare, artificial intelligence can analyse patients’ past health history, genetic profiles and lifestyles to predict their health risks and recommend specific preventive measures.

The idea of a personalised state is more than just automation, user-friendly design of digital services and “single gateway” portals (like It also forces us to think through the underlying principles of services and support measures and what new fundamental possibilities digital technology can offer for a more flexible provision of services. It is important to evaluate how artificial intelligence could be used to automate income- and wealth-related support and services, i.e. to free people from the obligation to provide proof of their expenses and income. This can open up opportunities to increase the share of income-related support and services at the expense of those offered universally and thereby increase the efficiency of the use of state funds.

The question of a personalised state, or a digital welfare state, is therefore inextricably linked to questions like: on what principles do we want to see further digital development? How can we combine the need for cross-use of data with the prevention of privacy breaches? What is the long-term vision of Estonia as a welfare state?

Based on the above, the following key questions are posed in the research:

  • What is the future of Estonia as a personalised state? What essential choices are related to data-based personalisation? For example, need-based vs. universal services and support measures; risk assessment-based prevention vs. mitigation of consequences.
  • Which social and educational services have the greatest potential for data-based personalisation? In what ways would that manifest?
  • How would the data-based personalisation of selected services affect the revenues and expenses of people and the state?