State Department encouraging workers to use ChatGPT

The agency just launched an internal chatbot as the Biden administration pushes AI.
State Department CIO Kelly Fletcher and State CDO and CAIO Matthew Graviss speak during AITalks on April 18, 2024, in Washington, D.C. (Scoop News Group photo)

The State Department is encouraging its workforce to use generative AI tools, having launched a new internal chatbot to a thousand users this week. The move comes as the agency leans heavily on chatbots and other artificial intelligence-based tools amid the Biden administration’s push for departments to look for use cases for the technology. 

“Of our workforce, there are a lot of people who haven’t been playing with ChatGPT,” State Chief Information Officer Kelly Fletcher said Thursday at AIScoop’s AITalks event in Washington, D.C. “We’re encouraging them to do so, but they need training.”

The internal chatbot, which FedScoop previously reported on, is an example of how the agency is weighing how generative AI might help with tasks like summarization and translation. It comes in response to staff demand. 

Beyond the chatbot, the State Department is using artificial intelligence for other purposes, including declassifying documents, said Matthew Graviss, the agency’s chief data and artificial intelligence officer. The department is also using open-source models to help create a digital research assistant for certain mandated reports, though he didn’t name those documents.  


The department is also using public tools with public information to help synthesize information for ambassadors, Graviss said. “You don’t need FedRAMP this and FISMA that to do that kind of stuff,” he added. “Public tools work.” 

Earlier this month, FedScoop reported that the Department of State had removed several references to artificial intelligence use cases in its executive order-required inventory. 

Other agencies, meanwhile, have taken a variety of approaches to generative AI, with some more cautious about exploring the technology. Others are setting up sandboxes to explore generative AI tools, working, for instance, with versions of OpenAI tools available on Azure for Government. 

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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