A recent survey of federal employees by the Government Business Council revealed that just a quarter of all respondents believe that federal agencies have done a good job of explaining to their people just how AI will affect the jobs there are doing and what they can do to prepare for the change.

Jack Corrigan reports that the government’s top-down approach to introducing AI is not fully engaging the lower echelons of the federal bureaucracy in this post from NextGov:

It’s not that feds don’t understand the benefits of AI—a majority of those surveyed highlighted the tech’s potential to reduce repetitive tasks and increase productivity. The problem, according to researchers, is that employees don’t feel like they’re being considered in the equation.

Only half of the 500 federal workers who participated in the survey believe agencies are committed to adopting AI technologies in a way that boosts the skills of their the workforce. More than 75 percent of employees said adaptability will be key to succeeding in a more tech-heavy workplace, but many fear they’ll be left to handle those changes on their own.
Most respondents are open to learning new skills, and agencies could motivate many to do so through sponsored training programs, researchers found. Still, some 60 percent of feds worry the government won’t provide sufficient resources to help them adapt to more AI in the workplace.

“While most [federal employees] feel confident in themselves, they would feel much more confident if they had adequate ‘technical support and user training,’” researchers wrote. “If the role of intelligent technologies is to augment human performance, workers should be involved from the onset—starting with helping identify the specific tasks that are well-suited to AI-powered augmentation or automation.”