On August 9, 2022, President Biden signed the CHIPS Act of 2022 (the “Act”), legislation to fund domestic semiconductor manufacturing and boost federal scientific research and development (see our previous alert for additional background). As part of its science-backed provisions, the Act includes many of the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act’s (USICA) original priorities, such as promoting standards and research and development in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) and supporting existing AI initiatives.
National AI Initiative
The Act directs the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Director to continue supporting the development of AI and data science and to carry out the National AI Initiative Act of 2020 (previous alert for additional background), which created a coordinated program across the federal government to accelerate AI research and application to support economic prosperity, national security, and advance AI leadership in the United States. The Director will further the goals of the National AI Initiative Act of 2020 by:
- Expanding NIST’s scientific staff and research infrastructure.
- Supporting measurement research and development for advanced computer chips and hardware designed for AI systems.
- Supporting the development of technical standards and guidelines for safe and trustworthy AI systems.
- Developing a framework for managing AI risks.
- Developing and publishing cybersecurity tools, encryption methods, data science and AI best practices.
Furthermore, the Act provides that the Director may establish testbeds, including in virtual environments, in collaboration with other federal agencies, the private sector and colleges and universities, to support the development of robust and trustworthy AI and machine learning systems.
NSF Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships
A new National Science Foundation (NSF) Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships (the “Directorate”) is established under the Act to address societal, national and geostrategic challenges for the betterment of all Americans through research and development, technology development and related solutions. Over the next five years, the new Directorate will receive $20 billion in funding. Moreover, the Directorate will focus on 10 key technology focus areas, including AI, machine learning, autonomy, related advances, robotics, automation, advanced manufacturing and quantum computing, among other areas.
DOE Research, Development and Demonstration Activities
Within the Department of Energy (DOE), the Act authorizes $11.2 billion for research, development and demonstration activities and to address energy-related supply chain activities in the ten key technology focus areas prioritized by the new NSF Directorate. Further, the Act authorizes $200 million for the DOE’s Office of Environmental Management to conduct research, development and demonstration activities, including the fields of AI and information technology.
Federal AI Scholarship in Graduate Education
The Act directs NSF Director to submit to the relevant House and Senate congressional committees a report outlining the need, feasibility and plans for implementing a program for recruiting and training the next generation of AI professionals. The report will evaluate the feasibility of establishing a federal AI scholarship-for-service program to recruit and train the next generation of AI professionals.