DOJ AI tool has been in pilot stage for over three years

A 2020 AI strategy document for the agency listed AI adoption as a priority.
Department of Justice Building Sign DOJ
(Getty Images)

An artificial intelligence tool designed to help the Department of Justice consolidate records is still in the pilot stage, despite being in operation for more than three years. 

The system, which is called the Intelligent Records Consolidation Tool, was built with the help of an IT consulting group called the Savan Group and is maintained by the agency’s Justice Management Division. 

The software is supposed to assist in measuring the similarity of record schedules in order to reduce the time spent by the records manager, according to a description in the DOJ’s artificial intelligence inventory. It’s one of just four AI use cases mentioned in the inventory, which is required by a 2020 Trump administration executive order. 

While documents obtained by FedScoop show that the tool had an “informal kick-off” in late June 2020, the system is still in a pilot stage, a DOJ spokesperson confirmed. The AI inventory describes the tool as having been in production for “more than 1 year” and also states that the tool has been used in “multiple information management domains for the past three years.” 


Meanwhile, it’s not clear if there’s been any recent discussion about the tool within the agency.  A FedScoop public records request for documents related to the tool were all dated in 2020 and 

and a DOJ spokesman did not answer FedScoop questions about why the tool had not progressed from the pilot stage.

The slow expansion is notable, particularly as the Biden administration pushes federal agencies to adopt AI to improve internal operations. A DOJ artificial intelligence strategy, dated December 2020 and listed on the Justice Management Division’s page, also states that the agency hopes to “promote successful use cases, pilots, proof-of-concepts, and knowledge sharing to accelerate the deployment and appropriate use of AI.”

The Savan Group did not respond to a request for comment.

“The Intelligent Records Consolidation Tool as [sic] an administrative tool being used in a pilot stage to explore potential efficiencies and quality improvements for records consolidation and categorization,” Wyn Hornbuckle, a spokesperson for the agency, said in an email to FedScoop. “The use of technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) to increase automation in record processing is an emerging and promising area, which the department continues to explore while ensuring that there is sufficient human monitoring and appropriate safeguards are established.”


Madison Alder contributed to this article. 

Rebecca Heilweil

Written by Rebecca Heilweil

Rebecca Heilweil is an investigative reporter for FedScoop. She writes about the intersection of government, tech policy, and emerging technologies. Previously she was a reporter at Vox's tech site, Recode. She’s also written for Slate, Wired, the Wall Street Journal, and other publications. You can reach her at Message her if you’d like to chat on Signal.

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