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The year of the CDO?

There was a significant deadline for big federal agencies in mid-July: Many of them were legally required to have a chief data officer in place. Compliance wasn't solid everywhere, initially, but the movement to elevate the CDO position continued to gain momentum as 2019 rolled on. The point is to put data at the forefront of decisions, and to make the most of the federal government's vast databases. Tajha Chappellet-Lanier explains why not every federal CDO is the same.

A Message From AWS Educate

With over 1,500 institutions and hundreds of thousands of students who use AWS Educate, we wanted to take you on a trip around the world and highlight how students are learning and innovating with the cloud. Learn more.

Congress strives for better tech

Congress found time to focus on technology in 2019 — not only the internal systems used by lawmakers but also writing better legislation about technology itself. The Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress was largely the driving force behind that action, issuing a bunch of recommendations for building expertise for the process of writing 21st-century laws — including the evergreen favorite recommendation that Congress revive its old Office of Technology Assessment — and better technology to support that work. See Congress' progress in 2019.

The GAO's futurists see a busy 2020

It was only a few months ago that the Government Accountability Office dedicated a new team of fellows to thinking about the future of technology, but they have hit the ground running. The Center for Strategic Foresight has already presented an event about "deepfakes" in digital media, and it's looking ahead to its first full year of advising lawmakers and other federal officials about a fresh slate of topics, including health AI and machine-brain interfaces. Dave Nyczepir checks in with the program.

RPA hits big in 2019; AI not so much

Robotic process automation, or RPA, had a big year in 2019. Several agencies launched pilots, and the General Services Administration launched an RPA community of practice in April allowing for agency collaboration. But while RPA is a step in the right direction to automate rote, repetitive tasks common to the government space, many are critical of referring to it as true AI because it is completely rules-based and doesn’t actually generate intelligence. On that front, agencies were much slower to implement true AI applications this past year that replicate or mimic human judgment or behavior. We rounded up agencies' RPA and AI efforts.

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