AI Modernization: The Technology Modernization Fund’s Opportunities and Challenges for Federal Agencies under the Biden Administration

Technology Fund Invites Proposals for Investments in AI Technology

The Technology Modernization Fund is seeking proposals for artificial intelligence-related investments under the Biden administration’s recent executive order on implementing AI in federal agencies. The fund offers multiple paths to funding to help agencies operate better, improve coordination between existing programs, and modernize legacy systems.

According to an announcement from the GSA, 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 use of the TMF has the potential to accelerate AI usage in government.

The GAO recently found some 228 AI applications in use in federal agencies, more than 500 more in the planning stages, and about another 500 in the research or exploratory stage. However, it cautioned that the government “must manage its use of AI in a responsible way to minimize risk, achieve intended outcomes, and avoid unintended consequences.”

The issue has also attracted the attention of both the House and Senate, with a bill (S-1865) having cleared the committee level in the latter to require agencies to be more transparent when using automated intelligence and systems such as facial recognition software to interact with the public or to make decisions.

The TMF is a central government-wide fund designed to provide up-front money for IT projects rather than stretch out spending over time. Allocations mostly have gone toward projects to replace legacy systems. With this new focus on AI investment opportunities under Biden’s executive order, federal agencies now have access to even more funding resources for innovative technology projects that can drive forward progress across government operations.

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