Bill Would Give Agencies More Resources to Adopt Artificial Intelligence

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The legislation would require the government to bring on more AI experts and map out the technology’s implementation.

Federal agencies would have to get serious about adopting artificial intelligence under a bill introduced Wednesday.

The Artificial Intelligence in Government Act, sponsored by Sens. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, Cory Gardner, R-Colo., Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, would provide resources for feds to start exploring how AI could play into their agencies.

The bill would require the General Services Administration to bring more AI experts on board and conduct original research on federal AI policy. It would also establish a board of experts who would advise agencies on AI implementation and help them overcome obstacles to adoption.

“The United States won’t have the global competitive edge in AI if our own government isn’t making the most of these technologies,” Schatz said in a statement. “This bill will give the federal government the resources it needs to hire experts, do research and work across federal agencies to use AI technologies in smart and effective ways.”

Under the legislation, the Office of Management and Budget would be required to integrate AI within the federal data strategy and develop a plan for investing and implementing the technology across government. The Office of Personnel Management would also need to examine the skills needed to use AI within the federal workforce and possibly create a new occupational series for AI experts.

“Artificial intelligence will have significant impacts for our country, economy, and society,” Portman said in a statement. “Ensuring that our government has the capabilities and expertise to help navigate those impacts will be important in the coming years and decades."

Artificial intelligence has taken center stage on Capitol Hill this week as lawmakers try to figure out how the U.S. can cement its leadership in the emerging technology.

Reps. Will Hurd, R-Texas, and Robin Kelly, D-Ill., on Tuesday published a report detailing the economic and national security threats that would result from China or other adversaries surpassing the U.S. in AI.

During a call with reporters on Tuesday, Hurd said agencies would find AI tools particularly useful for detecting fraud, waste and abuse.

On Wednesday, the House Oversight IT subcommittee, led by Hurd and Kelly, also discussed actions the government could take to counter China’s aggressive investment and exploitation of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence.

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