Federal CIO: 'AI is a priority of this entire administration'
- By Chase Gunter
- Oct 24, 2018
Artificial intelligence is foundational to the ongoing work of improving government data quality, federal CIO Suzette Kent said at an Oct. 24 technology conference.
"We aren't waiting, and now is the time to seize this opportunity," she said at an Oct. 24 event hosted by the tech company Nvidia. "AI is a priority of this entire administration, our lawmakers and our federal leaders."
AI is already in use in federal agencies, with applications in health care, agriculture, defense, advanced computing, in space and with the workforce, Kent said.
She pointed to the AI's presence in assessing contract compliance, legal obligations, risk analysis and fraud detection as private sector practices government could also adopt. But enabling AI across government may entail some policy changes.
In the short term, Kent said her office is looking at common data classifications across government to make data easier to understand, and making sure the voluminous data put out by the government is secure and available, with "the appropriate and responsible usage" is defined.
She also pointed to the AI report from Reps. Will Hurd (R-Texas) and Robin Kelly (D-Ill.) that included recommendations for future legislation.
Kent emphasized that government needs to better understand how the emergence of AI impacts work for "the largest employer in the U.S."
"As we fully embrace AI capabilities, we are fundamentally changing the nature of work, and we have to reexamine that foundation of how we prepare the American worker," she said. This includes "investments in the educational system… in making sure our American worker is very comfortable working in an environment with technology."
While the prospect of AI gets much of the attention, "we have to make the right investment in data infrastructure," she said. "If we don't make the right investments in the data and science, it's like having the fastest plane in the world and no fuel."
Chase Gunter is a staff writer covering civilian agencies, workforce issues, health IT, open data and innovation.
Prior to joining FCW, Gunter reported for the C-Ville Weekly in Charlottesville, Va., and served as a college sports beat writer for the South Boston (Va.) News and Record. He started at FCW as an editorial fellow before joining the team full-time as a reporter.
Gunter is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where his emphases were English, history and media studies.
Click here for previous articles by Gunter, or connect with him on Twitter: @WChaseGunter