Federal Manager's Daily Report

The opportunities of incorporating artificial intelligence in the federal workplace “far outweigh the challenges” of doing so, according to a report from the Partnership for Public Service and the IBM Center for the Business of Government.

“AI could enable agencies to fulfill their numerous roles more efficiently and effectively by reducing or eliminating repetitive tasks, revealing new insights from data, improving customer service and enhancing agencies’ ability to achieve their missions,” says the report, the latest in a series of similar evaluations from inside and outside the government.

For agencies, potential benefits include improved and more personalized customer service including more face to face service as employees are relieved of repetitive chores that consume time. For employees, the benefits include allowing them to “focus on core responsibilities related to their agencies’ missions and spend fewer hours on administrative duties. They are likely to have more time to deliver services, interact with customers and perform other mission-related tasks.”

However, it adds that “jobs based mainly on tasks that can be automated would likely be phased out, and employees would have to learn new or different skills for other jobs.” It likened the transition to that experienced by the government through the widespread adoption of computer technology, which resulted in a drop in the percentage of federal employees with clerical duties from 19 to 4 percent of the workforce over 2985-2017.

It projected the largest potential impacts on a percentage of jobs basis at Treasury, GPO, SEC, PBGC, MSPB; on a numbers of jobs basis, the ranking was Treasury, DoD, Transportation and SEC. Government-wide some 130,000 federal employees work in jobs likely to be affected by AI, it says.