Census Bureau Wants to Build AI Bot to Accelerate ATO Processing

Jeff Brody

The Census Bureau aims to develop an artificial intelligence-based tool to streamline and speed up the process to grant authority to operate for new systems and applications, Nextgov reported Wednesday. The effort is being led by the Census FISMAtic team. Officials said the AI bot would work like the Clippy automated assistant that supported Microsoft Office products from 1997 to 2007.

Alex Cohen, program manager for Census’ Center for Applied Technology, said the tool would read all existing ATOs, find commonalities between approved applications and apply language processing to establish a response to future applications. 

“The goal is to take all the ATOs the Census Bureau has done… and write some natural language processing tools that look through those looking for commonalities in the way responses are written,” he said. 

Cohen noted his team is developing what the tool will look like and how the machine learning and AI would work. They plan to collect sample ATOs from Census Bureau to train the AI bot to read applications and provide responses. 

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