In recent years, the concept of an AI-empowered digital workforce has gained traction in the public and private sectors as employers seek ways to create efficiencies and alleviate the workload overload that many employees feel. The COVID-19 pandemic in particular has accelerated the trend.

The term “digital workforce” describes a variety of automated solutions that improve productivity. But a leading AI expert, Paul Dillahay, told MeriTV in a recent episode that even as the term digital workforce has gained currency in government circles, it is often misunderstood.

“I actually love the term digital workforce,” said Dillahay, who is president and CEO of Empower AI. “However, I believe over time it’s been misunderstood, and it has misled people to believe what we’re really talking about is simply replacing humans. And that’s not the case.”

In fact, automated solutions play a distinctively supporting role that enables human workers to do their jobs better, Dillahay said.

“At Empower AI and industry-wide,” he added, “we’re really looking to enable the government workforce to accomplish its missions more effectively by leveraging technology. We believe that a digital workforce is enabled by a hyper automation solution to support the human and … just enable them to get more work done, more accurately and more timely.”

A digital workforce can also help alleviate a growing problem afflicting Federal workers: burnout. New research shows that 65 percent of government employees describe themselves as burned out, and half are considering leaving their jobs in the next year because of it.

A digital workforce addresses transactional tasks, freeing time for human workers to focus on cognitive, citizen-facing tasks – and alleviating their burnout, Dillahay noted.

As an example, Dillahay cited Empower AI’s work on service desks for the Department of Defense and civilian agencies, leveraging machine learning and hyper automation to triage requests and get them to the right person immediately. The digital workforce speeds problem resolution, thus resulting in a better user experience, he said.

Overall, as the digital revolution moves forward, Dillahay says increased integration between the digital workforce and the people running the government can bring widespread benefits of speed, scale, capacity, and cost savings.

For more insights, including Dillahay’s advice for getting started with a digital workforce, watch the full interview.

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MeriTalk Staff