Using AI to Modernize Old Techniques

Artificial Intelligence is being implemented across government to modernize and automate traditional manual processes. For many organizations, this means taking paper-based, tedious, error-prone tasks and turning them over to a machine for automated completion. Beyond using AI to hand off tasks best completed by machines -- those that are rote and repetitive -- agencies are also looking at ways to introduce the technology into already complex human-driven activities to make them even more effective and efficient.

Researchers at Dartmouth College's Department of Computer Science have taken a technique that proved valuable in WWII and applied AI to extend the usefulness of the method. A canary trap is a technique that plants different instances of false information in documents. If one of those documents is leaked, the canary will "sing," identifying the leaker. For example, in WWII British intelligence agents planted false documents on a corpse to trick Nazi Germany into preparing for an assault on Greece while the Allies invaded Sicily. The team at Dartmouth created a modern version, WE-FORGE, that plants different instances of false information in documents. The process is relatively simple when creating a small number of variations in a handful of documents, but to extend it to large scientific or technical documents, AI is essential. WE-FORGE uses natural language processing to generate multiple fake files that are believable yet incorrect.

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Putting Work into Defining the Government Workforce

The last year has brought about incredible change in the federal workforce, and it shows no sign of stopping. With a new Director for the Office of Personnel and Management (OPM) confirmed, the next several months will bring new energy and activity to formalizing and standardizing workplace policies, processes, and approaches for the "new normal" of a digital-first government.

The move to telework changed how many people view and even perform their jobs. Before the pandemic, telework was sporadically used throughout government and viewed pretty skeptically. Now that the genie is out of the bottle, it's clear that government can continue to function without people in office buildings from 9am-5pm. As in-person work starts to come back around, the new shift will be in defining and managing a hybrid workforce.

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The Growing Impact of IoT

The use of Internet of Things (IoT) to manage infrastructure and services is not a new concept, but response to the new normal of pandemic life, natural disasters, and the implementation of 5G networks all could accelerate the implementation of IoT solutions.

Remote Management

Stay-at-home orders, social distancing measures, and backlogged inspection schedules all combine to make a great case for implementing sensors and other IoT devices as part of infrastructure management. With technology providing data on the status of equipment, facilities, and general infrastructure like roads and bridges, the need to deploy inspectors to the field can be minimized. In the short term, this reduces potential points of exposure for inspectors and field staff. Longer term, it adds a new "colleague" to field management teams. IoT can handle routine, low risk monitoring, freeing up humans to focus on more complex or higher priority tasks and activities.

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Retooling Federal Workforce Skills

With the introduction of technologies such as machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), mobile apps and more, the business functions of government are becoming more automated. While fears of machines taking over the world -- or at least our jobs -- are unfounded, the type of work government employees will be doing is changing dramatically. Additionally, there is a huge learning curve needed for employees to adopt these technologies to ensure they live up to their promise of greater efficiency and cost savings. The common denominator for managing all of this change? Training.

In a recent survey, 43 percent of Federal IT professional respondents said that one of the reasons their IT environments were not optimized to meet current demands was insufficient investment in training. Organizations need to take full advantage of budgeted education stipends to get holistic training for management and employees to ensure they get the most out of their technology investment. Investing more in training up front can save money down the road by avoiding the need to re-tool or even scrap systems to better fit the skill sets of the workforce. Continue reading

How To Maximize Your Public Sector Events: A Q & A With Kerry Rea Of GovEvents

Recently Katie Hanusik with SpeakerBox Communications interviewed GovEvents President, Kerry Rea. Here's the article we wanted to share:

I recently had a chance to catch up with Kerry Rea, President of GovEvents, who shared her thoughts on the changing government events landscape. In the following Q&A, she discusses how topics have changed over time, how event planners can ensure success for their public sector events, and how to avoid common event planning mistakes.

Q: Can you give us a quick overview of GovEvents?

GovEvents was created as a complimentary service to government and military personnel, contractors, vendors, and event organizers to provide one place on the web to find and post government-related events. Without GovEvents, government personnel looking for professional development and networking opportunities would have to search numerous sites and monitor dozens of email newsletters to get a look at options open to them. Industry had the same challenge in developing their event plans each year - determining which events to attend, exhibit, and sponsor.

The site provides in-depth information on hundreds of events, from major industry tradeshows and government conferences, to agency-sponsored roundtables, government job fairs, training events, webinars, and on-demand webcasts.

The site has grown to more than 80,000 members. On average, 90% of the events on GovEvents are posted by members. Continue reading