Nearly 30 agencies published their artificial intelligence (AI) use case inventories for the past year, detailing hundreds of ways the Federal government is leveraging the emerging technology across the globe – ranging from preventing veteran suicide to fighting climate change-induced hurricanes.

The December 2020 executive order on promoting trustworthy AI mandated that agencies publicly provide details on how they are using AI.

“These standardized inventories are intended to help agencies identify similar AI use cases across the government, so that agencies can share and re-use methodologies, technologies, and best practices,” the National AI Initiative Office wrote. “In turn, this should help agencies use AI more effectively and equitably, while also saving taxpayer money.”

According to the “Promoting the Use of Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence in the Federal Government” executive order, and codified by the Advancing American AI Act, Federal agencies are required to inventory their AI use cases and share their inventories with other government agencies and the public.

Agencies began publishing their first annual inventories in June 2022. Some interesting AI use cases at the 27 departments and agencies include:

  • Prediction of veterans’ suicidal ideation following transition from military service at the Department of Veterans Affairs;
  • AI-based automation of acoustic detection of marine mammals at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration;
  • To provide natural gas leak detection and quality control at the Department of Energy;
  • To provide a county-level visualization of food and nutrition service support at the U.S. Department of Agriculture;
  • To accurately identify, prioritize, and process actionable tips in a timely manner for the Department of Justice’s Threat Intake Processing System database; and
  • To objectively estimate windspeed of a hurricane on satellite images with NASA’s deep learning web-based situational awareness tool.

Additionally, almost every agency that provided use cases highlighted that they are also deploying AI-enabled chatbots on their websites in an effort to streamline the customer experience process and automate providing answers to commonly asked questions.

The General Services Administration noted that the end goal of its chatbot is to reduce staffing requirements for live chat programs and instead allow resources to be dedicated to other proactive customer services initiatives.

Agencies’ inventories are not required to include AI use cases that are classified, sensitive, used in defense or national security systems, used by the Department of Defense or Intelligence Community, embedded within common commercial products, or used for AI research and development activities.

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Cate Burgan
Cate Burgan
Cate Burgan is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.