VA Appoints First Director of Artificial Intelligence

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has appointed their first ever Director of Artificial Intelligence to assist the agency on their quest to optimize their technological capabilities. Gil Alterovitz joins the VA after acting as a core writer of the National Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Strategic Plan. He is also a professor at Harvard Medical School.

The VA is already using AI technology thought their REACH VET program, enabling them to reduce veterans’ wait times and scan medical records to evaluate risk of suicide.

In a release announcing the new appointment, Alterovitz noted, “Given how health care is evolving, AI is really the only way to move forward in terms of reducing costs and providing better care… AI is key to really taking advantage of that data to help Vets and potentially others, as well.”

Alterovitz will be based out of the Office of Research and Development within the VA and will also oversee the training of “hybrid” clinical scientists to use data science to improve healthcare, an ongoing program at the VA since 2015.

Alterovitz also hopes to leverage private sector research and development to assist the VA in their mission.

“There’s a lot of exciting work in imaging diagnostics with deep learning, outside the VA, and lots of potential within VA,” says Alterovitz. “But there’s not a lot of activity right now within VA. It’s perhaps a little under-represented. Sometimes images are stored locally, and they’re not accessible [to experts at other locations with AI expertise.] These technologies are new, and we need to bring them into VA.”

While Congress has wrestled with the ethical implications of AI in government, Alterovitz believes much of the anxieties surrounding the technology come from a lack of education and perspective which he hopes to bring forward. He looks to past technological advancements to defend his position.

“What ended up happening was that people realized technology augmented things, rather than displacing people,” he says. “It helped them in some way, or made things more efficient, so they could spend more time on things they wanted to do, or that were more relevant to their core mission. There were background tasks they didn’t have to deal with as much.”

"It's about establishing a human-AI collaborative environment," Alterovitz concludes.

Posted in Featured News

Print

This Week on FEDtalk

Sorting Through Cybersecurity Part 2: An Internal Agency Perspective

Tune in to FEDtalk this week for a discussion on Cybersecurity Awareness Month. A few weeks ago we heard from industry leaders about top cybersecurity concerns. This week, the individuals leading efforts to combat cyber threats in government will join us to discuss their work.

Read more ...

Hear it from FLEOA

FLEOA Elects New National Officers at Bi-Annual Conference

Last week, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association elected the following National Officers at the 25th National Conference held in College Park, Maryland:

Read more ...
FEDagent

FEDagent.com

The free weekly e-report for Federal Law Enforcement

Get in touch with us

Email FEDagent publisher

Copyright 2019 FEDagent.com
Hosted by Peak Media Company, LLC