Growing Artificial Intelligence Through Research (GrAITR) Act (HR 2202, 116th Congress)

Policy Details

Policy Details

Originating Entity
Last Action
Referred to the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
Date of Last Action
Apr 10 2019
Congressional Session
116th Congress
Date Introduced
Apr 10 2019
Publication Date
Apr 26 2019
Date Made Public
Apr 10 2019

SciPol Summary

Recognizing the ongoing but disparate Federal efforts to develop AI systems, this bill outlines a simplified and coordinated plan to accelerate the adoption and development of AI systems throughout the government. Specifically, the bill is comprised of four titles detailing new requirements and authorities to support these aims by current Federal agencies (e.g., the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), National Science Foundation (NSF), and Department of Energy (DOE)) as well as new entities created by this bill: the National Artificial Intelligence Coordination Office and supporting committees.

Under the first title of the bill, the President is directed to implement a National Artificial Intelligence Initiative (SciPol brief available), that with relevant Federal entities including the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Program, would establish objectives and metrics for the development of AI systems throughout the country. This bill also stipulates that the Initiative would establish investments in the development of the technology as well as other support structures for the education, workforce, and expansion of services related to AI systems.  Further, the Initiative will ensure that the use and development of AI systems provides tangible benefits to underrepresented and disadvantaged populations, supports and leverages collaboration and on-going efforts among all AI stakeholders, and strengthens the field of AI by investing in data sharing as well as the cybersecurity, ethics, and economic aspects of AI systems.

To support the work of the Initiative, this bill establishes a National Artificial Intelligence Coordination Office within the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) that will be supported by the NSF, DOE, and Department of Commerce. Specific duties of the Coordination Office include:

  • Providing administrative support to the Initiative’s advisory committee;
  • Serving as a conduit to Federal AI initiatives for the private sector and States;
  • Disseminating findings, recommendations, and AI applications of the Initiative; and
  • Publishing a report to Congress that includes information about funding for the Initiative.

The bill also directs the OSTP to coordinate an inter-agency committee comprised of members from NIST, NSF, DOE, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Department of Defense, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Office of Management and Budget, OSTP, National Institutes of Health, and any other agencies considered by the OSTP. Duties of this inter-agency group include reporting on strategic plans, goals, and needs for the Initiative as well as coordinating AI initiatives throughout the Federal government and internationally.

In addition to the inter-agency committee, the OSTP is also charged with the responsibility of organizing an advisory committee for the Initiative comprised of members with expertise in a wide range of military and civilian applications of AI systems. The advisory committee will support the OSTP’s work with the Initiative as well as evaluate its development including providing a report to OSTP and Congress a report of its assessments.

In the bill’s second title, NIST is directed to support the efforts of the Initiative by establishing standards and measurements for AI development. NIST is also authorized to provide funding programs for AI stakeholders to support the Initiative. To support these requirements, NIST is to solicit input from relevant AI stakeholders and convene periodic meetings, open to these stakeholders, to discuss standards, metrics, challenges, and future goals pertinent to the AI and the following areas:

  • Cybersecurity;
  • Algorithmic accountability;
  • Algorithm explainability;
  • Algorithm trustworthiness; and
  • The lexicon of AI systems.

NIST will submit a report of the outcomes of these efforts within two years of the bill’s passing. These efforts will also be supported with an appropriation of up to $90 million through 2024.

The bill’s third title pertains to the NSF’s role in supporting the efforts of the Initiative. In particular, the NSF is directed to establish research and education programs for AI systems. Such programs will build upon ongoing work of the NSF and prioritize interdisciplinary and multi-stakeholder research on AI-related topics including:

  • Algorithmic accountability;
  • Minimizing biased datasets;
  • Forecasting AI capabilities; and
  • The impacts of AI system’s use on society.

The NSF is also directed to establish a grant program to fund up to five “Multidisciplinary Centers for Artificial Intelligence Research and Education”. Each center will receive funding for five years with the opportunity to apply for extensions. These efforts will be supported by an appropriation for the NSF of up to $10 million through 2024.

In the bill’s fourth and final title, the DOE and its Office of Science is directed to organize a research program on AI systems which includes the following components:

  • Establishing objectives for the research efforts that support the Initiative;
  • Convene and leverage current expertise and programs of the DOE; and
  • Collaborate with current and new AI stakeholder partners throughout the government and private sectors.

To these ends, the DOE is allocated funding to establish up to five research centers focusing on the development and study of AI systems. Candidates hosts for these centers can include government and private entities that, if selected, will produce research and expertise to support the DOE and Initiative. Centers will receive funding for five years and may apply for renewed funding. To support these efforts, the DOE will be allocated up to $225 million through 2024.

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