The Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) is currently seeking proposals for artificial intelligence-related investments under the Biden administration’s recent executive order on implementing AI in federal agencies. This fund offers multiple paths to funding to help agencies operate better, improve coordination between existing programs, and modernize legacy systems.
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.
According to a recent report by the General Accounting Office (GAO), there are currently 228 AI applications in use in federal agencies, with about another 500 in the planning stages and around 500 in the research or exploratory stage. However, the GAO cautioned that government must manage its use of AI responsibly to minimize risk, achieve intended outcomes, and avoid unintended consequences.
The issue has also attracted the attention of both houses of Congress, with a bill (S-1865) having 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 up-front money for IT projects rather than stretch out spending over time. Allocations mostly go towards projects to replace legacy systems.