The role of artificial intelligence (AI) in managing records in the government continues to grow in importance, and it will continue to play a critical role in the future, Federal agents said during a virtual conference hosted by the Digital Government Institute on September 2.

According to Christopher Carr, records manager at the Department of the Defense (DoD), the role of AI in the government is to perform repetitive and mundane tasks for the allotment of a user’s time to be focused on more complex duties and challenges.

“AI is our best solution for greater agility in serving our customers and meeting their mission and our mission requirements. [It’s] an enhancement of our practices rather than a replacement or substitution of those current practices,” Carr said.

However, while Carr’s office has many hopes for the implementation of AI, it remains in a pre-AI stage, he added.

“We do have several high-tech scanners that intricately scan record books. But with regards to information organization and other elements of records management, I would say that we’re in a pre-phase, and we still have a way to go on this journey,” Carr said.

Additionally, AI allows government agencies to distill information so that senior decision-makers can make data-driven decisions. Ultimately the factors in decision-making must be distilled down for a senior decision-maker. And without the use of automation, AI, it’s going to be very difficult to make the best decisions possible.

“The reason we need it is because of the volume of data and information that we have. A human being can no longer process the incredible volume that we have. AI’s the ability to filter that information to help our decision-makers filter all this information because it’s overwhelming to them,” Mark Patrick, chief of the Information Management Division for the Directorate of Management for DoD, said.

But there are two strategic imperatives in this information journey, everything is lifecycle managed, and it needs to be discoverable. The problem is that it’s a complex journey with many stakeholders. Therefore, it is crucial that all stakeholders understand AI capabilities and how the agency will utilize them.

“In my mind, it is to make my organization do what it’s supposed to do mission-wise, and that helps to make the prioritization decisions. And it helps me talk about why we need to do this for folks who do not understand this stuff,” Patrick said.

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.