It’s early, but it’s a question that seems to be on everyone’s mind: How soon will the government embrace artificial intelligence (AI)?  For many people, AI invokes images of humanoid robots, malevolent mainframes, or a dystopian science fiction reality, not the mundane goings-on in federal office buildings.

For decades, engineers, researchers, and scientists have sought to enable computers to accomplish tasks that were once only thought capable of being done by humans. However, in recent years technology has moved from science fiction to reality and the federal government seems keen on finding applications for it.

The cognitive technologies behind AI could be poised to reshape how the government operates. For example, one of the biggest potential changes to the public sector would transform how government employees get work done, particularly alleviating the burden of day-to-day administrative tasks. This would also have a profound effect on the cost of doing business. A report from Deloitte Center Government Insights conservatively estimated automation could result in annual savings of 96.7 million federal man hours, leading to a possible savings of $3.3 billion. The high-end estimates suggest 1.2 billion hours and an annual savings of $41.1 billion.

Currently, the government has used AI in its least complex workloads. These endeavors include incorporating components into virtual assistants on public-facing sights, such as the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ Emma and the Army’s Sgt. Star. Both are getting smarter, learning from their experience, and providing better answers the more questions they’re asked. While these solutions are relatively simple, this is an important first step. Undoubtedly, uses for AI will go far beyond assisting website visitors.

While the full benefits of AI have yet to be realized, the government is proceeding slowly and with caution. If the government adoption of cloud computing is any indicator, it will be a prolonged process.

About the Author

Alex Tzavellas serves as Practice Marketing Manager where he supports MIL’s cloud solutions marketing and sales efforts. He specializes in developing and executing strategies for federal and non-profit clients.