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A bot for the backlog

Like many states, Wisconsin struggled to process torrents of unemployment insurance claims precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, but officials said Thursday they finally cleared a mammoth backlog with the use of AI technology from Google Cloud. Amy Pechacek, who heads the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, told StateScoop the agency runs on a 50-year-old mainframe COBOL system that had stacked up a 770,000-claim backlog when she took charge last September. "I couldn’t even believe it. I fell off my chair," she said. Colin Wood reports.

A Message From AWS Educate

With over 1,500 institutions and hundreds of thousands of students who use AWS Educate, we wanted to take you on a trip around the world and highlight how students are learning and innovating with the cloud. Learn more.

North Carolina broadband chief heads to D.C.

North Carolina Broadband Infrastructure Office Director Jeff Sural will leave the state government this week to advise federal broadband policy at the U.S. Treasury Department as it distributes tens of billions of dollars in new funds authorized by federal pandemic relief programs. In announcing his departure, Sural touted the progress North Carolina has made in his six years as broadband chief, including connecting more than 70,000 homes and businesses through state and federally led projects. The broadband adoption rate statewide increased from below 50% to above 71% during that time. Ryan Johnston has details.

Officials say don't pay the ransom. Parents disagree.

Research published this week by the cybersecurity company Kaspersky found that a majority of parents of K-12 students would support their children’s school districts paying off ransomware actors in the event of an attack, despite the fact that government officials routinely tell victims not to pay and industry experts warn that payment is no guarantee of recovering corrupted or stolen data. According to the survey of 1,014 parents of school-aged youths, 72% said they’d support paying hackers’ demands if it meant keeping their kids’ personal data, academic histories and medical records from being leaked. Benjamin Freed has more on EdScoop.

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