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How TMF is helping agencies harness artificial intelligence

| Laurence Bafundo, TMF Executive Director
Post filed in: Technology

In today’s rapidly changing digital landscape, artificial intelligence (AI) is a powerful tool that can help government agencies enhance service delivery, drive innovation, and improve decision-making. 

In partnership with OMB, GSA’s Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) is working with government agencies to harness AI’s potential and mitigate its risks in line with the President’s Executive Order on the Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of AI. Before discussing TMF’s efforts to optimize AI usage, it’s important to establish some foundational knowledge: What is AI? How can AI responsibly make government services better? And how might TMF help accelerate technology modernization with AI across government agencies? Let’s explore these questions!

Understanding AI

AI describes computer systems that perform tasks that typically require human intelligence. This can include recognizing data patterns, making predictions, and understanding and responding to human language. 

Machine learning is a subset of AI that involves training algorithms and statistical models on large datasets to enable them to learn patterns, make predictions, and perform specific tasks without being explicitly programmed for every situation. For example, machine learning is used in voice assistants, recommendations on streaming platforms, and spam filters in email.

Large Language Models (LLMs) are machine learning models trained on vast amounts of data. By analyzing the patterns and relationships in this data, LLMs develop an advanced ability to understand, generate and operate on human language – enhancing many of the digital services we interact with on a daily basis.

AI has begun enhancing government digital services in multiple domains, including public engagement, cybersecurity, and healthcare. For example, the Department of Veterans Affairs uses AI-powered predictive analytics to help healthcare providers identify veterans with high-risk needs so they can intervene early when necessary. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employs virtual assistants to provide personalized support and help to taxpayers. These AI tools allow agencies to gain insights, streamline operations, and deliver personalized services.

How TMF accelerates technology modernization with the help of AI

With TMF support, federal agencies can modernize IT infrastructure, invest in AI research and development, and pilot innovative AI projects – driving digital transformation and improving services to citizens and stakeholders.

Here’s an overview of how TMF can support federal agencies: 

  • Fund innovation projects: TMF provides funding to overcome budgetary constraints and support innovative IT modernization initiatives across federal agencies.
  • Address legacy systems: TMF funding can be used to modernize outdated IT infrastructure and legacy systems for federal agencies, making them compatible with the latest AI technologies.
  • Build technical capacity: TMF offers technical assistance throughout the investments lifecycle, ensuring federal agencies can access the expertise and resources they need to navigate challenges and maximize AI initiatives’ impact.
  • Ensure ethical and responsible AI use: TMF invests in frameworks for data governance, privacy protection, and algorithmic transparency to mitigate risks associated with AI deployment. 

TMF investments focus on funding ideas that allow multiple federal agencies to benefit from a single investment. By supporting projects that demonstrate innovative solutions with broader applicability, TMF enables agencies to use shared resources and successful strategies to help the federal government deliver better outcomes for the American public. 

TMF recently released a call for AI proposals and will accept submissions from federal agencies on a rolling basis. To learn more about the TMF process and proposal requirements, please visit the TMF website or email