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Tags: house committee | artificial intelligence | grants | funding | transparency | rand

Lawmakers Alarmed Over Lack of AI Grant Transparency

By    |   Tuesday, 26 December 2023 07:35 PM EST

A bipartisan group of House lawmakers has expressed concern over a lack of transparency on how the United States Artificial Intelligence Safety Institute (USAISI) will fund outside organizations, with the RAND Corporation reportedly among the groups receiving funding.

Members of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, including chair Frank Lucas, R-Okla., and ranking member Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., wrote a letter Dec. 14 to Laurie Locascio, director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) about USAISI, which was created by President Joe Biden through an executive order on Oct. 30.

The USAISI is tasked with developing technical guidance to address the risks of artificial intelligence and will also fund outside research on AI safety issues.

"We have learned that NIST intends to make grants or awards through the USAISI to outside organizations for extramural research," the members wrote. "There does not appear to be any publicly available information about the process for these awards — no notice of funding opportunity, announced competition, or public posting. These awards were not discussed during the public listening session on the USAISI that NIST held on [Nov. 17] or the recent Congressional Staff briefing on [Dec. 11].

"The process for these awards differs significantly from the information that NIST has provided to organizations interested in entering into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement to participate in the consortium with NIST."

Politico reported Tuesday one of the outside organizations receiving funding is the RAND Corporation, citing an AI researcher and an AI policy professional at a major tech company who each have knowledge of the situation. A recent RAND report on biosecurity risks posed by advanced AI models is listed in the footnotes of the House letter as an example of research that has not gone through academic peer review.

The letter by House lawmakers did not mention RAND or any other outside group by name. Biden's AI executive order in October was written with extensive input from senior RAND personnel, Politico reported.

A RAND spokesperson did not respond to Politico about a partnership on AI safety research with the NIST, which is a division of the Commerce Department. A NIST spokesperson told Politico the agency is "exploring options for a competitive process to support cooperative research opportunities" related to USAISI, adding that "no determinations have been made."

Other lawmakers to sign the House committee letter included Mike Collins, R-Ga., chair of the Subcommittee on Research and Technology, and Rep. Haley Stevens, D-Mich.; and Jay Obernolte, R-Calif., chair of the Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight and Rep. Valerie Foushee, D-N.C.

Michael Katz

Michael Katz is a Newsmax reporter with more than 30 years of experience reporting and editing on news, culture, and politics.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


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A bipartisan group of House lawmakers has expressed concern over a lack of transparency on how the United States Artificial Intelligence Safety Institute (USAISI) will fund outside organizations, with the RAND Corporation reportedly among the groups receiving funding.
house committee, artificial intelligence, grants, funding, transparency, rand
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2023-35-26
Tuesday, 26 December 2023 07:35 PM
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