The Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) has announced a call for proposals to invest in artificial intelligence-related projects under the Biden administration’s recent executive order on implementing AI in federal agencies. The fund offers several funding paths to help agencies improve their operations, enhance coordination between existing programs, and modernize legacy systems. Proposals seeking $6 million or less with a project timeline of no more than 1.5 years will receive an expedited review process.
According to an announcement from the General Services Administration (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 adoption in government.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently found that there are over 228 AI applications currently in use by federal agencies, with more than 500 in the planning stages and another 500 in the research or exploratory stage. However, the GAO cautioned that responsible management of AI usage is crucial to minimize risks, achieve intended outcomes, and avoid unintended consequences.
Both houses of Congress have taken notice of this issue, with a bill (S-1865) having passed committee level in the Senate to require federal agencies to be more transparent when using automated intelligence and systems like facial recognition software to interact with the public or make decisions.
The TMF is a centralized government-wide fund designed to provide upfront money for IT projects rather than spreading out spending over time at a higher cost. Allocations mostly go towards replacing legacy systems; however, there is now an opportunity for agencies to invest in AI projects that can revolutionize government operations and decision-making processes.