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Get on the grid

States can improve the resiliency of grid operators and other utilities against cyberattacks by forming policy committees and advisory boards that bring together policymakers, technology and emergency management officials and industry representatives, according to a paper published this week by the National Governors Association. The group highlighted eight states that've done so. Indiana, for instance has an energy committee to its Executive Council on Cybersecurity, that maintains a database of energy companies operating in the state and their relevant cybersecurity contacts and management plans. Benjamin Freed reports.

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How the Beeck Center burrows in

To ensure the best ideas in digital government aren’t lost, Georgetown University’s Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation launched a new program last year that places its fellows within state and local agencies. The fellows assist projects intended to improve how residents interact with their governments, and they observe and document the work of digital services teams, so it can be shared more widely. "I can’t express enough how many great things are happening here," the program's leader, Kevin Parker, told Colin Wood. The interview is part of StateScoop's special report on digital services. Read the full interview.

Ann Dunkin returns to D.C.

Former Santa Clara County, California, CIO Ann Dunkin is returning to the federal government to lead IT at the Energy Department, sources close to the matter told FedScoop. Dunkin, who's been with Dell Technologies' state and local practice for the past 15 months, was an adviser to the Biden-Harris transition operation, and before working in Santa Clara County was the Environmental Protection Agency's CIO under former President Barack Obama. Billy Mitchell has the story.

Google's COVID-19 vaccination chatbot now speaks 28 languages

Google announced yesterday that states using its AI-powered online virtual agent as part of the search giant’s suite of vaccine management software can now offer the tool in 28 languages and dialects to handle any questions residents have about scheduling or registering for a COVID-19 vaccine. “The virtual agent needs to be able to comprehend how people talk and the multiple ways in which they will express the same question or intent,” Mike Daniels, Google’s global public sector VP, wrote in a blog post. Ryan Johnston has more.

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