More than 400 federal government employees and contractors attended a presentation featuring the Chief FOIA Officers (CFO) Council Technology Committee working group on artificial intelligence (AI), held virtually on November 5, 2020. The event, "Artificial Intelligence 101," provided agency Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) professionals a primer on different types of AI and AI-adjacent technologies, key terms, and possible applications to the FOIA process. It also allowed attendees to share information regarding currently-utilized technologies with each other.
AI Working Group chairperson and presenter Nicholas Wittenberg explained how federal FOIA programs can leverage AI to meet agency processing goals with greater efficiency. Points of discussion included the current use of AI technologies in everyday life, the benefits and drawbacks of utilizing AI, the impacts of technological trends (including increased data creation, collection, cloud storage, and protection), and the varying needs and practices among federal FOIA offices. Participants also considered how traditional e-Discovery tools have evolved in recent years to include AI capabilities and their potential application to FOIA processing. Slides are posted on OIP's CFO Council page.
This virtual meeting opened and closed with remarks from Bobby Talebian, Director of the Office of Information Policy (OIP), who acknowledged the hard work of the CFO Council Technology Committee. He further noted that both the CFO Council Technology Committee and the CFO Council's newly-formed Committee for Cross-Agency Collaboration and Innovation are seeking agency volunteers. CFO Council Technology Committee volunteers work to improve the use of technology and artificial intelligence in FOIA administration across the government. Volunteers on the newly-created CFO Council Committee for Cross-Agency Collaboration and Innovation will work to research and propose cross-agency grant programs and funding sources, create federal career paths for FOIA professionals, and promote models to align agency resources with agency transparency. If you are interested in serving as an agency volunteer, please send an email to DOJ.OIP.FOIA@usdoj.gov with the subject line "CFO Committee Agency Volunteer."
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