Bipartisan senators push for $32 billion boost in AI research funding

Bipartisan U.S. senators advocate for a $32 billion in AI research funding and unveil a comprehensive policy roadmap for AI advancement and regulations.

CBDC, The us capital building at night with a full moon politics. Senate House of Representatives

A bipartisan coalition of US senators, including Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, called on Wednesday for a significant boost in government research funding for A.

Joined by Republicans Mike Rounds and Todd Young, along with Democrat Martin Heinrich, Schumer presented a strategic plan derived from expert consultations to address the rapid advancements and associated challenges of AI. The senators endorsed the national security commission on artificial intelligence report‘s recommendation to allocate at least $32 billion annually for non-defense AI innovation.

‘This is a time in which the dollars related to this particular investment will pay dividends to the taxpayers of this country long term,’ Rounds stated. He emphasised the urgency of matching or surpassing China’s substantial investment in AI, which exceeds US spending by a factor of ten, according to him. 

Schumer underscored the importance of this “surge emergency funding” to solidify America’s leadership in AI, particularly in competition with China. He also mentioned that Congress is considering additional significant funding for defense-related AI.

The proposed funding aims to establish a cross-government AI research and development initiative, including an ‘AI-ready data‘ program and enhanced infrastructure for government AI testing and evaluation. The senators highlighted AI’s transformative potential to eliminate debilitating diseases, alleviate traffic congestion, and deliver personalised education for all students.

Efforts to develop consensus on AI policy included a series of forums with industry leaders and experts. Despite these initiatives, progress on AI legislation has been slow, with the Biden administration and lawmakers expressing concerns over AI’s potential to affect elections and societal norms. The administration is separately working on regulatory measures.

Schumer expressed his hope that Congress would pass some form of AI-related legislation by the end of the year, stating, “We’re not going to wait on legislation that addresses every aspect of AI in society.”

US officials have warned about the risks of AI exacerbating biases and enabling election interference through sophisticated deepfakes. They also fear that advanced AI could be weaponized to create bioweapons or launch cyber attacks, with particular concern about China’s capabilities.

In response, the Senate Rules Committee is set to consider legislation aimed at mitigating AI’s impact on elections, including measures to prevent deceptive AI-generated content in campaign advertisements.