With 2024 on the horizon, federal agencies are on the cusp of a transformative era in which AI-powered automation and Generative AI are set to revolutionize compliance and public service delivery.

The integration of AI with automation is a practical solution already being implemented across the public sector to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of government operations.

In 2024, the proven capability of AI-powered automation will also enable agencies to meet the rising need for quick and efficient public services, such as federal aid programs, unemployment benefits, and tax filings.

Generative AI, when combined with AI-powered automation, will make rapid improvements in responsiveness of government processes and improving public service delivery. Together, these emerging technologies will help agency leaders meet the requirements outlined in recent White House and OMB mandates.

Embracing AI-powered automation

AI-powered automation uses AI to tackle complex processes, reducing manual effort and human errors. It is particularly beneficial in a complex technological environment, where it can launch immediately and scale infinitely, allowing powerful automation to be created right from workers’ browsers. Suh automation can also securely pull relevant data from structured and unstructured documents, allowing agencies to process and generate reports efficiently, and curate new datasets for emerging analysis needs.

To comply with recent federal digital transformation mandates, agencies must adopt AI-powered automation tools to securely and transparently process data, boost operations, and empower government workers in their careers. Additionally, software automation will also continually monitor cloud environments, improving agencies’ security postures while reducing workloads for IT and security teams.

Yet, automation tools in government must be compliant with government security requirements and provide core management, governance, analytics, and self-hosted automations on-premises or in the cloud. FedRAMP is currently undergoing an overhaul to meet updated compliance requirements and address cloud service demand. In 2024, AI-powered automation will become an integral part of how agencies rely on FedRAMP and other security compliant solutions to modernize.

Incorporating Generative AI

Generative AI and AI enabled intelligent digital assistants are at the forefront of transforming government employees’ abilities to serve citizens. AI assistants can act as a companion that helps individuals tackle their daily tasks. This technology can help federal agencies boost productivity by drastically reducing manual tasks, increasing accessibility and government efficiency. Workers can even use simple natural language prompts to create automations without the need for technical or coding knowledge.

Gen AI can interpret human instructions and carry out complex tasks by breaking them down into subtasks and chaining together sequences of actions and reasoning stages. This level of sophistication is likely to affect a wide range of vocations and create new careers, driving service delivery innovation.

However, to prevent Generative AI from making poor decisions or putting personal data at risk, agencies and their employees need strong data governance policies, AI literacy programs and training. Agency leaders should establish clear guidelines and governance structures to ensure the responsible use of Gen AI and other AI solutions. The use of automation with AI can help agencies more effectively put guardrails in place and enable higher levels of trust as they incorporate these newer technologies into their operations.

New tools for mission success

The federal government and defense agencies are already making gains in digital transformation and IT modernization using AI-powered automation. For instance, the Air Force, the Departments of Labor, Homeland Security, and Human and Health Services have streamlined operations and saved hundreds of thousands of hours using AI-powered automation in acquisition, finance, logistics, disaster relief, and other government functions.

By pursuing a strategic approach to automation, agencies can achieve dramatic gains in efficiency, productivity, security, and mission outcomes in the coming years.

The digital age has also ushered in an era where data management has become a cornerstone of government operations. With the daily generation of vast amounts of data, AI-powered automation will emerge in 2024 as a critical tool for enhancing data management, governance, and compliance. Automations do this by streamlining the modeling, sharing, and storage of data, thereby reducing the manual governance workload and improving query performance and accuracy.

In the realm of government compliance, AI-powered automation offers significant advantages. This tool can manage and govern data effectively, ensuring adherence to regulatory standards without the need for extensive human oversight. This not only improves accuracy but also reduces the likelihood of human error, which is crucial in maintaining compliance.

Moreover, AI-powered automation democratizes data access, allowing employees without technical expertise to work with high-quality data, fostering a data-driven culture within federal agencies. This shift is crucial for improving public services, reducing fraud, waste, and abuse, and automating time-consuming tasks.

When combined with machine learning, AI-powered automation can increase employee engagement and fight fraud by constantly mining content to find new patterns and trends. This capacity also gives agency leaders the accurate data they need to make crucial decisions for mission delivery.

Agencies will also notably expand the implementation of personalized assistance for citizens through chatbots and virtual agents. These advanced technologies, powered by machine learning and natural language processing, will be able to address inquiries 24 hours a day, seven days a week, effectively minimizing wait times and ensuring greater responsiveness.

Implementing AI-powered automation and tools like Gen AI are likely to significantly change the nature of work within federal agencies. The convergence of these cutting-edge technologies represents a significant opportunity for leaders at all levels to enhance operations, compliance, mission performance, citizen experiences, and public service delivery in the year ahead.

Mike Daniels is senior vice president of public sector at UiPath.

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