Interview With Carlos Rivero, Chief Data Officer At Commonwealth Of Virginia

State governments have unique challenges when it comes to budgets, workforce readiness, and technology adoption. Increasingly state and local governments have also been innovative, pushing forward AI technology to help with many operational and constituent facing operations.  Carlos Rivero, Chief Data Officer for the Commonwealth of Virginia, was recently a guest on the AI Today podcast as well as a panelist during the recent Data for AI Week Virtual Conference to discuss how states, and in particular the Commonwealth of Virginia, is leveraging data, automation, and cognitive technologies. 

In an interview for this article, Carlos shares how automation, advanced data analytics, and AI play an increasing role in state government, some unique challenges around data at the state level, some interesting or surprising insights you can share about how Virginia is using ML and AI and more.

What are some of the unique challenges around data at the state level?

Carlos Rivero: An important component to successfully use data to enhance agency operations is getting people involved in the data governance process. Part of the mission of the Office of the Chief Data Officer is to figure out how to leverage data as a strategic asset. As we’re working toward that goal it has become apparent that the participation of individuals both horizontally (across different lines of business) and vertically (chain of command) within the organization is critical in being able to share and integrate data assets in a meaningful way. Having data custodians, data stewards, data owners, and executive sponsors participate in the governance discussion is important because everyone has a role to play in our ability to leverage data for analytics, machine learning, and intelligence applications. 

A benefit that can also be a challenge at the