How the Federal Government is thinking about Artificial Intelligence

Mohana Ravindranath at NextGov: “Since May, the White House has been exploring the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning for the public: that is, how the federal government should be investing in the technology to improve its own operations. The technologies, often modeled after the way humans take in, store and use new information, could help researchers find patterns in genetic data or help judges decide sentences for criminals based on their likelihood to end up there again, among other applications. …

Here’s a look at how some federal groups are thinking about the technology:

  • Police data: At a recent White House workshop, Office of Science and Technology Policy Senior Adviser Lynn Overmann said artificial intelligence could help police departments comb through hundreds of thousands of hours of body-worn camera footage, potentially identifying the police officers who are good at de-escalating situations. It also could help cities determine which individuals are likely to end up in jail or prison and officials could rethink programs. For example, if there’s a large overlap between substance abuse and jail time, public health organizations might decide to focus their efforts on helping people reduce their substance abuse to keep them out of jail.
  • Explainable artificial intelligence: The Pentagon’s research and development agency is looking for technology that can explain to analysts how it makes decisions. If people can’t understand how a system works, they’re not likely to use it, according to a broad agency announcement from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Intelligence analysts who might rely on a computer for recommendations on investigative leads must “understand why the algorithm has recommended certain activity,” as do employees overseeing autonomous drone missions.
  • Weather detection: The Coast Guard recently posted its intent to sole-source a contract for technology that could autonomously gather information about traffic, crosswind, and aircraft emergencies. That technology contains built-in artificial intelligence technology so it can “provide only operational relevant information.”
  • Cybersecurity: The Air Force wants to make cyber defense operations as autonomous as possible, and is looking at artificial intelligence that could potentially identify or block attempts to compromise a system, among others.

While there are endless applications in government, computers won’t completely replace federal employees anytime soon….(More)”