Federal Manager's Daily Report

Increasing adoption of artificial intelligence will transform workplaces, including the federal workplace, on a scale not seen since the Industrial Revolution, according to the federal CIO Council, which adds that the coming transformation will happen much faster.

“As artificial intelligence becomes ubiquitous within the next ten years, many jobs will be transformed,” says a summary of a recent roundtable the council held with agency and industry experts.

“Simultaneously, this major technological shift will create demand for new jobs and skill sets that are yet to be defined. Skills and qualifications needed to perform these jobs will be fundamentally different than what we see in the workforce today,” it said. “Skills gap will create economic, social, and security challenges cross-cutting all segments of the population and industry sectors — including the federal government.”

The recently issued President’s Management Agenda estimated that just with current technology, 5 percent of federal occupations could be automated entirely, 60 percent could have 30 percent or more of their duties automated, and 45 percent of total federal work activities could be automated. The most likely candidates, it said, include jobs involving transactional tasks such as documenting and recording paper¬work, evaluating information to determine compliance, monitoring resources, and responding to routine ques¬tions.

In contrast, the CIO Council said, “Areas in which humans have a leading edge are creativity and empathy. Participants of the roundtable noted that while the exact shapes and titles of new job positions are evolving, demand is increasing for expertise in areas including ethnography, sociology, and systems thinking design.”

Under the Agenda, OMB and OPM within a year are to identify three areas most suited for automation, then pilot automations to show cost savings and return on investment. Some agencies already are moving ahead. For example, the intelligence community is investigating how artificial intelligence can be used to assess the credibility and value of newly collected information; and the Postal Service has tested its use for improving customer service and a recent IG report recommended expanding that test.