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This year, the tenth annual Atlantic Festival took place in the heart of Washington, DC. Booz Allen led a mainstage conversation about the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) and its promise. The firm also hosted four speaking sessions and hands-on tech demos at the Booz Allen Innovation Zone. Find out what we learned, and what we're still learning.
What does a yellow light mean to you? Stop, wait, or… go faster? Use the same analogy for technology advancements—should we approach innovation with creativity or caution? Booz Allen President and CEO Horacio Rozanski, along with thought leaders across the firm, joined government and industry leaders at this year’s Atlantic Festival (formerly Washington Ideas Forum) to weigh in on uniting technology and humanity as we create tomorrow together.
This year, Booz Allen was the innovation underwriter for the festival, which ran from October 2–4. We hosted four speaking sessions, plus hands-on demos and collaborative conversations showcasing DEXi (a cognitive digital solution), District Defend (Booz Allen’s workforce mobility solution), immersive training simulations, and a new Artificial Intelligence (AI) gesture detection demo at the Booz Allen Hamilton Innovation Zone—a block-wide space for live panels, tech showcases, and networking.
Kicking off Day One, Booz Allen’s Solutions Business Team Lead Dee Dee Helfenstein joined David Hawkings, congressional analyst and commentator (and former senior editor at Roll Call), for the summit presentation, With Great Power: Technology and Policy at a Crossroads. The discussion centered on how technology improves work. In the government space, protecting data often supersedes the needs of mobile employees, sacrificing productivity and collaboration for stricter security.
The government must balance mobility and security to create a more efficient and innovative workforce because mobility is here to stay. Cybersecurity needs to be built in at the policy level and cultural level of organizations—not as an afterthought. Additionally, startup communities, technology groups, industry, and government should collaborate to solve challenges for tomorrow’s workforce.
Henry Kissinger wrote in The Atlantic earlier this year, “Truth becomes relative. Information threatens to overwhelm wisdom.” Booz Allen’s AI Lead Josh Sullivan highlighted this quote during The Future of Artificial Intelligence for National Security. Josh joined Sue Kalweit, director of analysis at National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) and Derek Strausbaugh, federal chief digital lead for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) at Microsoft to suggest ways to secure and maintain our competitive information advantage through focused development and implementation of AI.
While AI and automation help discover what’s important in mountains of data, humans must connect the dots. There is still a significant amount of modernization required to advance our understanding of the world through a shared set of responsibilities for industry and government. The partnership between public and private sectors can change how we secure our nation and champion responsible standards.
Booz Allen CEO Horacio Rozanski took the mainstage on the second day with Eric Schmitt, senior correspondent at the New York Times, to add his insight on the future of AI. Like all transformative technologies, we need to decide what we will trust AI to do. Booz Allen is working to set the path to adoption that takes into account the trust issues: Trust that AI will be effective, that it reflects our values, and that we understand how it makes decisions. By establishing a national strategy for AI, the government and industry can work together to create the foundation for responsible implementation.
Kristine Martin Anderson, Booz Allen’s civilian services lead, joined Gundeep Ahluwalia, CIO of the Department of Labor, and Harrison Smith, acting chief procurement officer at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), to discuss Innovating the Government Experience. It’s no secret—the government lags behind the public sector in customer experience.
Recent survey data suggests that users' expectations of government services are at an all-time high. But digital communication and interactions must be personalized and transparent—keeping the customer top of mind. A few key recommendations to optimize digital interactions are:
On the final day of The Atlantic Festival, Kevin Coggins, vice president and positioning, navigation and timing lead at Booz Allen, led The Life Blood of Modernity: Position Navigation and Timing (PNT) with Dr. Brian Teeple, DoD, DCIO for Command, Control, Communications and Computers; Greg Gutt, CEO, Satelles; and Drew Morin, director of federal cybersecurity technology, and engineering programs at T-Mobile. They discussed our dependence on PNT, why it matters, and how to address vulnerabilities.
What can we do to create a backup plan when technology breaks due to jammed signals, spoofing, or smugglers? Build resilience, increase innovation, and offer affordability with disruptive technologies. For example, better ways of delivering internet globally (consider Google's Project Loon) will drive improved and ensured establishment of PNT. Additional recommendations included thinking ahead with 5G solutions and autonomous cars. Also, put privacy first and move quickly when something goes wrong. Lastly, to ensure the success of fail-safe modes for data outages, take the problem and turn it into an opportunity.
Munjeet Singh, Booz Allen’s immersive computing lead gathered with Lucien Parsons, founding director of Mixed/Augmented/Virtual Reality Innovation Center (MAVRIC) at the University of Maryland; Anthony Cerri, retired director of TRADOC Games and Simulations; and Amber Osborne, CMO Doghead Simulations to merge minds on both enterprise and government solutions for The Next Frontier of Immersive Innovation.
It’s clear the industry has a significant responsibility to create regulations and educate people on new technologies like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Education and price are significant barriers to entry. We need to increase the diversity of participants trying their new technology and find ways to collaborate and engage with geographically dispersed teams.
Technology brings us together at a breathtaking pace. We must collaborate and look at the digital landscape from every angle to find better solutions, and unite people, processes, and technology. Bringing humanity into the equation, we can create tomorrow together.
Watch all our speakers here and learn even more about how we’re uniting technology and humanity. Also, check out our supporting content featured on TheAtlantic.com:
Let’s continue the conversation around technology and humanity. Tell us how you believe technology can improve humanity @BoozAllen. #boozallen