While artificial intelligence (AI) technology offers significant opportunities to the Federal government to both reduce costs and improve performance, implementation of the technology will require proper policy, budget, and leadership support, according to a May 22 report from the Professional Services Council Foundation (PSCF).

The report identifies seven benefits Federal agencies can glean from deploying AI:

  • “Reduce costly administrative and manual burdens and free employees for more valuable work;
  • Optimize resource allocation;
  • Accelerate and improve decision making;
  • Reduce or eliminate backlogs or address rapidly increasing workloads;
  • Extract value from vast stores of collected data;
  • Combat inefficiency and fraud; [and]
  • Improve programmatic performance across [a] wide span of mission domains”

The PSCF report details existing use cases of AI across the government, including the Department of Defense using AI to plan deployment during a crisis, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration using bots to assist its finance and procurement processes, the General Services Administration deploying robotic process bots to track invoicing and payments, and the Department of Health and Human Services using AI to identify ways to consolidate contract vehicles.

It also discusses expected future use cases, including Department of Agriculture plans to employ chatbots to augment its human workforce at call centers, Veterans Administration exploring how AI can improve its customer experience, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology investigating how AI can assist with research and discovery.

The need for cultural change within agencies and overarching ethical guidelines to shape how AI is used across the Federal government were both cited as keys to ensuring that AI is deployed effectively. Many respondents said that “one critical ingredient for success is having a champion for AI at a high level to help drive a culture change in embracing new technologies.”

PSCF said it expects strong and sustained growth of Federal government AI use in the future, due in large part to President Trump’s Executive Order on AI, the Modernizing Government Technology Act, the President’s Management Agenda, and the growth of Other Transaction Authority.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk's Assistant Copy & Production Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.