The Power of Workforce Education – MeriTalk
In today’s digital age, it’s clear that artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) will be part of every digital transformation journey, including those in government.
In fact, the federal government was set to spend $3 billion on AI and ML technologies in 2021 and planned to invest more than $6 billion in AI-related research and development projects, according to a report. of the Bloomberg government. We even see the General Services Administration’s AI Center of Excellence and the Pentagon’s Joint AI Center (JAIC) accelerating the adoption of AI technologies by civilian and defense agencies.
However, an essential element of the strategy for implementing these technologies is often overlooked: the training and education of the workforce. With new technologies comes the transformation of employee roles, requiring new skills and training.
AI/ML in government
AI and ML have the power to help government agencies be more effective and efficient.
Technologies can be used to automate processes, such as managing and optimizing cloud usage. The ability to scale capacity and workloads in response to changes in demand is a significant advantage of cloud computing. AI/ML simplifies the adoption of multi-cloud strategies, allowing more than one public or private cloud. A multi-cloud approach gives agencies more flexibility over which cloud services to use and the ability to innovate across clouds.
AI and ML can also be used to enhance the role of workers. IDC researchers predict that 85% of companies will combine human expertise with AI, ML, natural language processing, and pattern recognition to increase foresight, making workers 25% more productive and efficient by 2026.
Additionally, automation technologies and predictive analytics are increasingly seen as a matter of national security. The Senate Appropriations Framework for fiscal year 2022, released in October 2021, includes $500 million for AI programs across all military branches, plus $100 million for the Department of Defense to help recruit, retaining and developing talent to advance the use of AI.
Communication is key
When it comes to implementing technologies like AI and ML, training and educating the workforce is key. As with any new technology, people need training to understand the power of AI and ML and quickly adopt the technology for low-level, repeatable tasks.
To allay workers’ fears, government IT leaders need to include people, process and technology when considering innovation across the agency. By communicating at all levels, leaders can more effectively help employees understand how their day-to-day tasks will be affected by new technologies, while freeing the workforce to focus on more complex tasks.
Before and throughout the deployment of new technologies, IT managers should ask themselves questions such as “how can we communicate the benefits of this technology” and “how does it improve the employee experience?” This will not only help people understand what these new technologies mean to them and their jobs, but will accelerate the adoption of AI and ML in government so that agencies can deliver their benefits to taxpayers faster.
It’s time for federal IT officials to lead the way
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are poised to transform the way government operates and delivers services to citizens. But that won’t happen if IT leaders don’t take action now to pave the way. The recent Senate passage of the AI Training Act, a bipartisan bill aimed at strengthening the AI knowledge and skills of federal employees, is an important step forward to help the industry audience to discern which systems are useful and to understand basic AI/ML functionality.
Now is the time to make sustained investments to create public sector models that foster innovation and support the upskilling and reskilling of workers at all levels to understand technology and use it effectively. Improving the outcomes of future procurement solutions requires collaboration and communication between the private and public sectors. With the right communication in place, government employees can more quickly adopt AI and ML to improve their roles and deliver better services to citizens, faster.