Federal agencies adopting more artificial intelligence programs

Journalist Camille Tuutti describes advances in artificial intelligence, and how they will forge ahead at high speed because although it might not be sexy, it i...

The federal government is looking to capitalize on the advances made in artificial intelligence as technology becomes more commonplace in the commercial sector, said the executive editor of NextGov, a government technology news website.

“What’s happening at agencies now, it’s on a very basic level. It comes down to pretty much automating processes and using A.I. for things like chatbots,” said Camille Tuutti.

Artificial intelligence’s contemporary use in government is as basic as it sounds: chatbots simply read questions from users and output relevant answers.

“I think that’s going to change rapidly over the next years,” Tuutti told What’s Working in Washington. “What we’re going to see is a little bit more advancement within the [Department of Defense] or intelligence community when it comes to artificial intelligence.”

“It’s not going to be Skynet,” Tuutti said, referring to the fictional neural net-based conscious group mind and artificial general intelligence system featured in the Terminator movies. “We’re talking about a sexy technology doing very boring things.” Artificial intelligence can execute monotonous jobs such as data entry.

“I think any new, emerging technology is going to be considered a little bit scary,” said Tuutti. Cloud computing, for example, was a tough sell when it first became viable for businesses.

“People were very afraid to implement it at first, or even embrace it. Now, it’s kind of a mainstream technology in the government,” she said.

Plenty of government leaders are still apprehensive about instituting AI initiatives. But Tuutti said she hopes people will embrace the coming shift and accept that change comes with every technological advancement.

“With driverless cars, for example, that could replace bus drivers. It’s just the direction we’re going,” she said.

Yet another example is cybersecurity. A decade ago, few companies offered cybersecurity as a service, but now, “pretty much every company in the region has some kind of cybersecurity offering,” Tuutti said. “You have to adapt.”

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