Editorial

White House previews next steps for AI and data policy

Both Trump and Congress want more AI across US government – which policymakers want to do by making data more accessible and conducting pilots at the agency level, a senior advisor stated this week

Posted 28 March 2019 by

The Trump White House plans to continue automating more and more government processes using AI (Artificial Intelligence) – which it plans to kick-start by making open government data more of a thing for Uncle Sam.

The news came this week from the Federal Government’s Chief Information Officer, Suzette Kent, at a Washington event hosted by US public sector lobby group AFCEA.

There, Kent promised that the eagerly expected Federal Data Strategy – whose draft principles were released in July of last year – will finally be out “soon”, though she did share the main thrust: to prioritise “certain datasets that are important to stimulating our economy, protecting our nation and continuing research”.

In addition, the US government aims to focus on building reusable tools and make more Federal-level data more accessible, and improve the usability and access on sites like its Data.gov.

That’s not an overnight job, though – as she claimed that making data available, “particularly when agencies need to share data across Agencies,” is a time-consuming process and a problem definitely being addressed in the Strategy.

“We’re using pilots and special initiatives to evolve our thinking about how we’re going to bring data in and how we’re going to use it together,” she told her audience, adding,”We actually think we advance in the [Federal] Agencies much more quickly through the maturity cycle if they do those pilots.”