The Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) is currently seeking proposals for investments related to artificial intelligence under the Biden administration’s recent executive order on implementing AI in federal agencies. The fund offers various funding paths to help agencies operate more efficiently, coordinate existing programs, and modernize legacy systems. Agencies that submit proposals seeking $6 million or less and with a project timeline of no more than 1.5 years will receive an expedited review process for investment.
According to 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.
Recent studies by the GAO have revealed that there are currently over 228 AI applications in use in federal agencies, with more than 500 in the planning stages and another 500 in the research or exploratory stage. However, the GAO also cautioned that the government must manage its use of AI responsibly to minimize risks, achieve intended outcomes, and avoid unintended consequences.
The issue of responsible AI usage has also attracted the attention of both houses of Congress, with a bill (S-1865) having been passed at 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 stretching out spending over time, often at a higher cost. Allocations mostly have gone towards projects aimed at replacing legacy systems.