Machine Learning and the GEOINT Workforce

Machine learning and transitioning from government to industry were the main topics of discussion at a workshop hosted by USGIF’s Young Professionals Group Nov. 15.

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Machine learning and transitioning from government to industry were the main topics of discussion at a workshop hosted by USGIF’s Young Professionals Group (YPG) Nov. 15. The event was part of USGIF’s annual GEOINT Community Week, held Nov. 12-18.

About 50 individuals attended the workshop to hear from GEOINT Community leaders about the changing industry. Dewey Houck II, USGIF board member and vice president and chief data analytics officer at Boeing Defense, Space, and Security, gave a keynote address on how machine learning and artificial intelligence have evolved since the 1980s.

“For any species to evolve, it needs to adapt and adjust,” Houck said. “Machine learning is happening so fast that I don’t think [humans] have a good perspective on how fast it’s changing.”

Houck also spoke about the White House’s recently released National Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Strategic Plan, which outlines the further development of the emerging technologies.

In the second half of the workshop, attendees listened to a panel discussion focused on transitioning between jobs in industry and government. Panelists included Tom Burns of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Al Di Leonardo of HumanGeo, Victoria Nguyen of Whitespace Solutions, John Sanders of Pramantha Solutions, and moderator John Goolgasian of OGSystems. Panelists shared their experiences working in both industry and government and gave advice to the audience on how to excel in their careers. Some of the advice included doing what makes you happy, finding a mentor, and to never lose creativity or curiosity.

“The workshop gave me a lot to think about, not only about the main topic of switching between government and industry, but general career goals and choosing a more worthwhile personal direction on my current path,” said Bill Pilotte, an active YPG member and director of business strategy with ISPA Technology.

Following the workshop, attendees were encouraged to attend USGIF’s GEOINTeraction Tuesday networking event, sponsored by YPG in partnership with HawkEye 360, OGSystems, and Vricon.

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