The Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) has announced a call for proposals under the Biden administration’s recent executive order on implementing artificial intelligence (AI) in federal agencies. The fund offers multiple paths to funding, aimed at helping agencies operate more efficiently, coordinate better between existing programs and modernize legacy systems.
The GSA has stated that all proposals must include a clear plan for user testing, risk mitigation, evaluation metrics and senior executive support. Agencies have flexibility in how they approach their project and potential solution. The TMF can potentially speed up the adoption of AI in government.
According to a report by the GAO, there are currently over 228 AI applications in use by federal agencies, with another 500 in the planning stages and around 500 in the research or exploratory stage. However, the GAO cautions that the government must manage its use of AI responsibly to minimize risk and achieve intended outcomes while avoiding unintended consequences.
Both houses of Congress have taken notice of this issue. A bill (S-1865) has cleared committee level in the Senate to require agencies to be more transparent when using automated intelligence and systems such as facial recognition software to interact with the public or make decisions.
The TMF is a central government-wide fund designed to provide upfront money for IT projects rather than stretch out spending over time, often at a higher cost. Allocations mostly go towards projects aimed at replacing legacy systems.