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How CBP is deploying AI, ML to improve operational efficiencies and effectiveness

Federal agencies continue to expand their use of cloud computing to leverage the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning and gain new insights into their operations, and, more importantly, improve their mission outcomes.

Joining us to talk about some of the practical experiences and lessons learned in applying AI and ML are Sonny Bhagowalia, assistant commissioner and chief information officer at U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Mike Lentine, senior sales manager, federal civilian for Amazon Web Services, Worldwide Public Sector.

Bhagowalia explains how CBP is in its early phases of leveraging AI and ML to enhance operational efficiency and effectiveness. He shares that they are using the new technologies to gain insights into their 24/7 operations, automate processes, improve accuracy and support mission delivery. Some key use cases he highlights include:

  • Cargo screening: Automating anomaly detection, highlighting regions of interest, and verifying commodities to ensure safe and secure cargo processing.
  • Forced labor detection: Using AI and ML to identify and disrupt the importation of goods made with forced labor.
  • Video and image redaction: Developing models to identify sensitive information in images and videos.
  • Object detection and tracking: Using computer vision to detect and track activities, enhancing surveillance platforms automatically.

“Now, with AI, ML and some of those capabilities, we can reduce the amount of time humans have to spend to perform these tasks…some repetitive, mundane tasks can be given to a machine and intelligence software,” says Bhagowalia.

“AI and ML also give us great value in assisting humans with time-intensive activities. There are large computational elements that suggest sifting through vast amounts of data—we can let AI/ML do that. And then the human can use intuition, training, learning and knowledge—and combine that. I think we’ve been very successful using this modeling and some of these capabilities in achieving our mission,” he adds.

Lentine discusses the impact of AI and ML on capturing insights, both within CBP and across various agencies. He emphasizes that organizations like CBP possess vast amounts of data containing hidden insights that are challenging to identify using traditional methods. “AI, ML unlocks access to these insights in a repeatable, cost-effective manner, resulting in more secure and efficient operations,” he says.

He also mentions the potential to significantly improve officer and agent safety and efficiency, allowing for quicker and more accurate evaluations, leading to higher numbers of shipments processed and better detection of potential violations.

“Imagine that officer at a port, no longer looking at images, but instead evaluating trends, reviewing dashboards and investigating any variations. Combining AI, ML technology with experienced human review creates highly accurate approaches to keeping citizens safe,” adds Lentine. He also emphasizes the role of cloud computing in enabling faster experimentation, robust edge services and scalability for future growth.

Both Bhagowalia and Lentine stress the importance of partnerships, knowledge sharing and technology alignment with the mission to achieve improved outcomes.

Learn more about how these technologies can transform operations and support mission objectives.

This video panel discussion was produced by Scoop News Group, for FedScoop and underwritten by Amazon Web Services.