by Grant Gross

Data: A Future Social Security Benefit: No Paperwork

Aug 01, 20062 mins
Enterprise Applications

Future retirees may not have to file paperwork to get their Social Security checks, thanks to a government plan to convert old data into electronic form.

The U.S. Social Security Administration is looking into technology that would enable it to digitize massive amounts of data, says Kimberlee Mitchel, senior technical adviser for the agency. Millions of old records are stored in paper form; the move to electronic form will allow the agency to better track the eligibility of U.S. citizens for Social Security retirement benefits, Mitchel said at the Gartner Government Conference 2006 in June.

“We envision a future where we gather data almost transparently,” she said. “When you’re eligible for Social Security, the check shows up in your checking account.”

The government’s intelligence agencies also are looking heavily into technology that can quickly convert typewritten and even handwritten text (for example, notes handwritten in Arabic) into electronic data, said another panelist, Greg Pepus, senior director of federal outreach at In-Q-Tel, a ¿venture capital firm funded by U.S. agencies such as the CIA. “The problem is the vast majority of data in the world isn’t in databases,” Pepus observes. In addition, In-Q-Tel is looking for better technologies that allow searches across multiple databases in one interface, he says. The goal is to enable targeted searches that allow intelligence analysts to spend less time looking for data and more time analyzing it.