The Department of Labor’s (DOL) Directorate of Technology, Innovation, and Engineering has made great strides to develop some important aspects of artificial intelligence (AI) through the creation of a new branch that looks at emerging technologies, according to a DOL official.

Sanjay Koyani, chief technology officer (CTO) at the DOL, explained at the Dec. 8 “New & Next: The Government Tech Renaissance,” event hosted by MeriTalk that some of the items the new branch has been working on for the past year and a half include how AI can best be utilized to help reach the department’s mission goals.

“Where we’re at right now is we got a reasonable amount of staff and contract support. We’ve got systems in place, we’ve done a number of pilots, and we’re looking at when we put those pilots into actual production,” said Koyani.

However, at the same time, Koyani explained that it’s a challenge to determine how to best focus AI technologies to meet the mission goals of the department, as well as what are the pressing issues that need to be addressed.

“What are the pressing issues in the administration? What are the pressing issues in the programs? And what are the pressing issues of the users that are going to help to drive that? So, we’re always first looking at what’s the value proposition. How are we defining that and is it having a big enough scale to have an impact,” he said.

Koyani expressed high regard for new AI technologies, but explained that another one of the main obstacles of the technology is the symbiotic relationship that data and AI possess.

“Data and AI are inextricably linked. When you look at what you’re trying to do there, you need access to lots of quality structured data,” the CTO said.

Koyani concluded his remarks at the MeriTalk event by noting that the department is looking at attracting employees from universities and varying backgrounds to work on the future of AI technologies.

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Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.