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AI in Action, Part 3: Enhancing Access and Efficiency Alongside Security

Artificial intelligence might feel like something from the future, but many federal civilian and defense agencies have already integrated this technology into their plans for mission delivery.

July 15, 2020 4 minute read

Leveraging AI in government operations promises to increase speed, efficiency, and analytical power; it even has the capability to strengthen the security of data and critical infrastructure. As government agencies implement new technologies, they must do so in a way that gains the trust of not only citizens, but also of their own employees. 

On June 30, I joined government and industry thought leaders for a virtual panel to discuss specific use cases as well as different successes and challenges in the world of AI. The webcast served as the third installment in a three-part series from WWT and NVIDIA on the topic of AI in Action, focusing on enhancing access to and the efficiency of AI, as federal agencies look to shift their perception of the innovative technology. 

panel speakers

At WWT, I spend a lot of my time focusing on outcomes and how to solve problems, taking emerging technologies like artificial Intelligence and machine learning and applying them to various use cases. One of those use cases involves applying AI to projects involving robotic process automation (RPA). 

AI and RPA: A combination worth considering

RPA is a useful IT capability that will allow you to eliminate low-value, mundane, transactional work; however, it can really only make simple decisions. By adding AI to the equation, we are accelerating the ability of RPA to complete a multitude of tasks at once, which is particularly helpful when analyzing large swaths of data, enabling us to reach those anticipated outcomes more efficiently and effectively.

The ability to combine these two technologies has resulted in real, tangible results in real time that can be actively applied to digital solutions that meet the needs of our customers, more so than either technology can individually on its own. 

As the potential power of AI continues to grow with each new use case, so too do the misconceptions surrounding the technology. One common misconception remains that AI is going to replace the human worker and impact their livelihood as the technology overtakes their job. The use case involving RPA previously referenced is the perfect example to disprove this mistaken understanding of AI. 

The human element

Combining AI with RPA to eliminate tedious tasks through innovative robotics is not meant to ultimately eliminate the human element as well. In reality, the use of AI should enhance workforce efficiency by deferring repetitive, time-consuming tasks to computers. This allows the human worker to then make better, more informed decisions based on proven, trusted data that they did not have to take the time to analyze.

What is needed now across the public sector is a cultural shift in how the federal government approaches AI, to embrace the advantages of the technology rather than manufacture reasons not to use it. Something I learned in my time in government was the concept of painting a picture of what tomorrow looks like, depicting a path forward toward advancing and achieving the mission that incorporates the tools needed to get there. When you paint that picture of tomorrow with AI for your workforce, you do so by describing what it looks like with them in it, so they know that they are a vital part of it.

AI has the power to redefine the workforce, not replace it. It can be used to solve the problem, not be the solution. Like all emerging technologies, AI is one of many useful innovative tools that can be leveraged to accelerate the mission and achieve outcomes. AI is a means to an end, not the end itself.

You can stream the virtual panel in its entirety here: AI in Action: Enhancing Access and Efficiency Alongside Security. We also invite you to stream all three installments of this series.

The first installment in this series, recorded May 7, featured WWT’s Senior Engagement Manager Jamie Milne. You can review a recap of this webcast here. You may also stream the first installment in its entirety here: AI in Action: Accelerating Innovation and Exploring New Technologies.

The second installment in this series, recorded May 27, featured WWT’s Chief Technology Advisor for Public Sector Rick Piña. You can review a recap of this webcast here and can stream the virtual panel in its entirety here: AI in Action: Reliable and Responsible Systems for Mission Solutions

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