Prioritizing Automations That Improve Employees’ Experiences
SSA started considering AI to improve its employee (and, thereby, its user) experience, a common theme among agencies embracing automation.
The State Department is developing a classification system for declassification so that automation can handle cut-and-dried cases where documents should clearly either be withheld or released to the public, Williams said. Documents are declassified every 25 years, which was a completely manual process until recently.
Retired State Department employees still return on a volunteer basis to review documents up for declassification, a process that takes a year. But soon they’ll have to review documents in the 1997 to 2003 window, when the use of email and electronic records began, exponentially increasing the number of cables issued from about 100,000 to 600,000, Williams said.
The hope is that automation can handle 70 percent of the workload, with reviewers tackling the trickier diplomatic items. The State Department will take lessons learned as its automation pilot now moves into production and apply them to the automated review of Freedom of Information Act requests, Williams said.
Federal IT Leaders Seek Devices of the Future
A third trend covered at ETIC was federal IT leaders calling for devices of the future.
Defense Intelligence Agency Deputy CIO E.P. Mathew said the Department of Defense wants to collaborate with industry to redefine the desktop and develop a device that capitalizes on recent advances in cloud computing.
Similarly, Office of Personnel Management CIO Guy Cavallo pointed out that mobile devices such as smartphones no longer lack the data throughput to pull up a database. While mobile device manufacturers have started to lower costs, allowing agencies to supply their remote employees with phones and tablets, a combined device would be ideal.