Unlocking Generative AI for Civilian Agencies | Event Recap
"It's more than a bunch of widgets," said Suri Durvasula, VP of Federal Civilian at Dell, kicking off the event held at WWT's DC Innovation Center in Washington, D.C. on August 29, 2023.
The event highlighted the criticality of incorporating Generative AI into diverse applications, emphasizing its relevance not only for civilian agencies but also for various sectors within the DOD.
The focal point of the event was the pressing question, "how do we get there?" This inquiry underscored the central theme of the day's discussions, encapsulated succinctly by Anthony Robbins, VP of North America Public Sector at NVIDIA, "Governments can't do this on their own." This sentiment resonated strongly and encapsulated the collective understanding that collaboration is the cornerstone of progress in the realm of Generative AI.
The event featured influential participants from Dell, WWT, NVIDIA, and strategic vendors/partners, fostering an environment conducive to meaningful dialogue. The goal was to equip attendees with a tangible framework for embarking on their journey into the realm of Generative AI.
The panel delved into three pivotal areas that guide decision-making when assessing new technologies:
- "How to use them in a mission." One company that stood out in this regard was BrainCo, showcasing intriguing technologies that could seamlessly integrate into Generative AI functions alongside conventional AI programs. Notably, BrainCo's tech was proposed to enhance the training of operators within dynamic environments. This approach involved real-time measurement of operator responses and interactions within the environment, with the subsequent data serving as a valuable resource for future program development and mission planning.
- "How do our people consume it." This query, often at the forefront for architects and designers, becomes even more pronounced when dealing with the extensive datasets employed by Generative AI systems. To address this, John Byron Hanby IV, President & Chief Executive Officer from Internal Technologies, introduced innovative software capable of condensing vast datasets into digestible formats. This transformation facilitated easier comprehension, qualification and approval of the data. Furthermore, these refined datasets can be leveraged to streamline complex agency tasks, drastically reducing the time required.
- "How would our adversaries use it." In the context of security, the event underscored the imperative to anticipate potential adversarial uses of Generative AI. Establishing robust safeguards was paramount, given the sensitive nature of the data involved. Notably, leading companies such as NVIDIA and BrainCo are offering software development kits (SDKs) to agencies. This approach allowed agencies to construct tailored environments without the need to start from scratch, a significant departure from traditional practices. This not only enhanced security but also empowered agencies to maintain control over their data and systems.
The event culminated in a discussion regarding the way forward after addressing these pivotal concerns. The sentiment that "government can't do this on their own" resonated throughout, highlighting the importance of collaboration with industry leaders. Companies like Dell, with their validated designs for AI, and NVIDIA, with their cutting-edge GPUs, emerged as key enablers for agencies looking to embark on this transformative journey. The significance of utilizing resources such as the Composable AI Lab at WWT was also emphasized, showcasing the power of synergy between technology evaluation and human expertise.
The event concluded with an insightful comment by our very own Jason Craig, Chief Technology Advisor at WWT: "You don't need to start at $10 million let's start at $100K," emphasizing that the journey into the realm of Generative AI need not begin with exorbitant investments. Instead, starting with more modest resources can yield meaningful progress, making this technological evolution accessible to a broader spectrum of organizations.