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Listeners may think they are hearing someone with an English literature major from Princeton University — in actuality, he spent 10 years in the U.S. Marine Corps and has degrees in math and computer science.
During the interview, Acton brought together his right and left brain to solve the problem of managing data for the Defense Department.
One challenge is making a transition from older systems to cloud-based systems. He gave details on how his company took a COBOL system to the cloud and reduced cost by 70%. The key to this change is automation. The existing COBOL code would be impossible to move via a manual process. Once automation makes the change, then useless data must be purged before the “big move.”
Acton emphasized the importance of having reliable data to use any aspect of artificial intelligence. He made the case that artificial intelligence is entirely dependent on the data fed into it.
Acton’s view is reflected in a recent quote from Lt. General Michael Groen, “If you are going to use artificial intelligence, you have to understand your data. You have to clean up your data.”
We took a look at the 16-page DoD Data Strategy document and ended the interview looking at the constant change of that data and the need to update in a secure environment.