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GSA tests out AI civil servants

April 25, 2017 (Photo Credit: The Lightwriter)
The General Services Administration is looking to start getting Intelligent Personal Assistants into the realm of government services.

The agency, and its Technology Transformation Service, has begun a pilot program to make public service information available to digital assistant products like Amazon Alexa, Microsoft Cortana, Google Assistant and Facebook Messenger.

The Emerging Citizen Technology program will provide agencies insights on how to make their information accessible to the assistant programs and utilize them as a way to deliver more efficient public services.  

Justin Herman, manager of Governmentwide Social Media and Digital Engagement Programs in the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies, said in an April 24 blog post on Digital.gov that the pilot would first focus on public information, but could expand to include artificial intelligence and virtual and augmented reality applications to help improve government services.

“From privacy, security, accessibility and performance to how citizens can benefit from more efficient and open access to federal services, the program is working with federal agencies to consider all aspects of its implementation,” he said.

“Additionally, by sharing openly with private-sector innovators, small businesses and new entries into the field, the tech industry will gain increased transparency into working with the federal government.”

The pilot is part of TTS’s Innovation Portfolio, which has crafted a roadmap of its intended development as well as resources on GitHub.
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