Federal Manager's Daily Report

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The Partnership for Public Service has listed considerations for agencies in adopting artificial intelligence, in a posting summarizing a workshop it sponsored earlier this year on the current status and future of AI in government.

“AI continues to improve at tasks such as transferring information from paper to computers, answering questions by finding relevant information in large databases, detecting patterns in troves of data and predicting someone’s behavior based on past conduct,” said a blog posting. As the technology evolves, agencies must achieve a “greater understanding of how machines learn and making continued investments in the technology.”


It said that key takeaways from the workshop included (in its words):

* “There is no one blanket definition of data science, but the goal should be getting from data to decisions. Data science is, broadly, the art of turning data into actions through a multi-disciplinary approach to identify patterns and make well-informed decisions.

* “The most successful artificial intelligence projects have strong data. The role of AI should be curating data and recommending options. It frees people to be critical thinkers and decisionmakers.

* “Understand the risks. When deciding the role of AI, agencies should consider the risks relating to workforce preparedness, the potential for adversaries to use AI for harm, the possible impact of future regulations and historical bias in the data that could skew the results.

* “Know when it is appropriate to use AI. The idea of using AI to solve any problem is tempting, but agencies should evaluate whether it is excessive or too early to adopt. The “goldilocks zone” for AI solutions includes identifying objects and people in videos or pictures, translating speech and text from one language to another, and detecting fraud and anomalous behavior.

* “Consider six key areas before you implement AI. Agencies should verify that they are ready to address such issues as analytics, data, analytic techniques, people, technology and culture before beginning the AI journey.”

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