Q&A with Alex Benay, CIO, Government of Canada


If we will be able to put a person at the moon, why can’t the federal government lend a hand me renew my passport with Alexa? Or gain new applied sciences with no year-long procurement procedure?

When you’ve ever grumbled such ideas to your self, then take convenience it realizing you will have an best friend within the executive and he thinks such as you do – apart from he’s if truth be told running to do something positive about it. Except discussing ethical approaches to applying artificial intelligence (AI) and the way blockchain can be used in government, our interview with Executive of Canada CIO Alex Benay touched on a variety of alternative subjects. Right here’s a roundup of a few sizzling takes from the federal government’s best IT chief.

Solutions are edited for period and readability.

CanadianCIO: Your Twitter profile bio says “Don’t use the phrase ‘transformation.’” What do you will have in opposition to that phrase?

Alex Benay: Transformation implies there’s an finish state. At the present time, we left the concept that of an finish state in the back of 10 years in the past. We’re going to be in a continuing state of chaos and disruption. There are lots of sectors now not in a position for this, together with the analysis sector and big enterprises.

CCIO: You’ve additionally tweeted about exploring executive provider supply via voice first units like Alexa. How critical have been you about pursuing that?

AB: We must have the ability to be offering any Executive of Canada provider on any platform. It may well be Fb, in your watch, in your refrigerator, on your automobile, and with any spouse. While you’re reserving your holiday with Expedia.ca, you must have the ability to renew your passport for you. Your refrigerator must have the ability to alert you of that fish that were given recalled.

What’s in the best way of doing that is folks, coverage, and legislation. Our tradition of provider within the Executive of Canada is ready making folks come to us. Why can’t we be the place folks live? Voice first is value investigating. Amazon shipped us a developer’s package for Alexa to experiment with.

CCIO: Since entering your position as the federal government’s CIO, you’ve labored to put into effect agile methodology, which is new on this realm. What’s your option to trade control to verify a shift like this succeeds?

AB: Executive is a big group and the most important tech operation within the nation. When you have a look at the opposite international locations going virtual, they’re all small – Estonia, Israel, and so forth. A large send can now and again be a detriment. You wish to have to start out small and get started infecting the machine with other ways of running. It’s now not the general public coverage that’s in the best way, it’s the translation of it. We have been in a position to release our agile procurement at Shipping Canada now not however prescribing an answer, however via placing out a pilot and requesting responses. We need to settle for the reality we’re now not the unique professional on the entirety.

CCIO: Have you ever encountered any resistance to running like this? If this is the case, how do you triumph over it?

AB: You’ll simply mandate it. In some circumstances, we’ve used it and mentioned it. In some circumstances departments have used it and mentioned the nice and unhealthy of it. When you suppose you’re going to modify a machine of 100,000 workers in a single day, that’s going to be a problem. You simply must chip away at it.

We are actually sending people to Mars within the subsequent 20-30 years, I believe we must have the ability to determine this out.


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Updated: May 16, 2018 — 4:32 pm
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