Natural Language Processing: Will It Make Government Lingo Understandable

April 11, 2019

I noted a FBO posting for a request for information for natural language processing services. You can find the RFI at this link on the FBO Web site. Here’s a passage I found interesting:

OPM seeks information on how to use artificial intelligence, particularly natural language processing (NLP), to gain insights into statutory and regulatory text to support policy analysis. The NLP capabilities should include topic modeling; text categorization; text clustering; information extraction; named entity resolution; relationship extraction; sentiment analysis; and summarization. The NLP project may include statistical techniques that can provide a general understanding of the statutory and regulatory text as a whole. In addition, OPM seeks to learn more about chatbots and transactional bots that are easy to implement and customize with the goal of extending bot-building capabilities to non-IT employees. (Maximum 4 pages requested.)

The goal is to obtain information about a system that performs the functions associated with an investigative software system; for example, Palantir Technologies, IBM i2, or one of the numerous companies operating from Herzliya, north of Tel Aviv.

I am curious about the service provider who assisted in the preparation of this RFI. The time window is responding is measured in days. With advanced text analysis systems abounding in US government agencies from the Department of Justice to the Department of Defense and beyond, I wonder why additional requests for information are required.

Ah, procurement. A process in love with buzzwords so an NLP system can make things more clear. Sounds like a plan.

Stephen E Arnold, April 11, 2019


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