The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will pilot a program to assess the competencies of AI practitioners to ensure that the AI workforce at the VA is knowledgeable and capable of producing trustworthy results with the technology, according to Gil Alterovitz, director of artificial intelligence at VA.

“Building the AI workforce is really one of the important areas toward facilitating trustworthy AI because you need people with AI expertise to be able to determine and understand if the AI under the hood sort of structure is actually trustworthy,” Alterovitz said during an ATARC event on May 13.

Alterovitz said the AI workforce pilot is being executed “to examine certifying of an AI practitioner, researcher, and developer of knowledge.” As the number of AI jobs grows, Alterovitz stressed that assessing AI workforce competencies and having a strong AI workforce is crucial.

“It’s really important to have this AI workforce, not only to develop the AI, [but] to implement the AI, for acquisitions of AI, to verify, and to regularly monitor that AI, and to audit that AI over time,” he said. “The VA is working with other agencies and evaluating knowledge in key domains of AI and making sure and verifying that that knowledge is there for either individuals within the VA that want to be and can be leveraged to do AI, or in recruiting and developing that talent outside of the VA.”

Although Alterovitz did not specify when the AI workforce pilot will be rolling out, he did say it is currently “in the planning stages,” and the VA is “looking forward to seeing the results of that work.”

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.