USDA to Soon Unveil its AI Strategy

USDA to Soon Unveil its AI Strategy

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is formulating its artificial intelligence (AI) strategy and plans to release it in the coming months, according to the agency’s Deputy Chief Data Officer Fredy Diaz.

He disclosed that the developments are in their initial phases, with the department currently conducting current state assessments, posing inquiries, administering surveys, and initiating interviews.

Moreover, he emphasized a broader perspective, indicating a shift towards workforce preparation concerning artificial intelligence. This includes readiness for AI adoption and ensuring governance and leadership understand its potential benefits and risks.

“You’re going to see more things from USDA on this, but we’re going to focus on essentially how we recruit, retain, and upskill. We’re focusing on that, and we’re always looking for new innovative and unorthodox ideas in this space,” Diaz said in an online webinar hosted by ACT-IAC.

Last year, it was reported that the USDA deemed tools like ChatGPT to be too risky and prohibited its use. According to documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request and the department's response to FedScoop, the agency has additionally formed a board tasked with developing a procedure to evaluate future proposed uses of the technology.

In November 2023, the USDA also released its data strategy which outlines the department’s data management plan for the following two years.

“Data enables us to measure USDA’s progress, assess the impact of our initiatives and course-correct when needed. It ensures our actions are rooted in evidence and guided by the best interests of those we serve,” Chris Alvares, Chief Data Officer at USDA, said in a statement.

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