U.S. pitches AI R&D funding roadmap as business adoption soars

on May 16, 2024

A new Artificial Intelligence (AI) framework has been pitched in the US Senate that proposes a $32 billion government investment into non-defense AI research, offering an “all-hands-on-deck” approach to funding AI innovation that has support from both Democrats and Republicans.

But despite the high price tag to drive more homegrown AI research and development, The Driving US Innovation in Artificial Intelligence proposal lacks urgent or explicit guidelines on federal AI regulation. 

To that end, the pitch actually refers to using “existing laws for AI” as being the most immediate form of protection against nascent machine learning principles. 

This is noteworthy given there is no current federal data privacy framework in place within the United States, which has been a thorn in the side of policy pundits for more than two decades. 

Instead, as Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) explained in an official statement following the pitch, this new proposal calls on yet more proposals to firm up the specifics of legislation—without delaying the $32 billion in R&D funding, which could land as soon as 2026: 

“Our working group was able to identify key areas of policy that have bipartisan consensus […] Now, the work continues with our Committees, Chairmen, and Ranking Members to develop and advance legislation.” 

The TL;DR? Funding AI innovation (and maintaining the country’s competitiveness in the field) is the top priority for the US officials who authored the new framework. 

As for the long-awaited data privacy regulations? Those measures will simply need to catch up.

“In the midst of rapid AI advancements, the Senate can lead or be led. We plan to lead, to deliver for the American people, helping ensure that AI comes as a benefit to society, not a threat,” said Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM), co-founder and co-chair of the Senate AI Caucus. “This roadmap positions us to unlock AI innovation that will deliver major scientific and medical advancements and help maintain our global leadership.”

About: U.S. pitches AI R&D funding roadmap as business adoption soars
Non-defense AI R&D efforts could receive $32 billion in funding if the latest Senate proposal passes.

New AI funding welcomed by the private sector—but comes with critics

Fight for the Future director Evan Greer was one of the loudest voices in opposition of the new proposal, and he was quick to flag that there was “no serious discussion” of open source AI products, nor details on long-awaited privacy protections. 

“The framework eagerly suggests pouring Americans’ tax dollars into AI research and development,” Greer’s statement in response to the Senators’ pitch reads. “Meanwhile, there’s almost nothing meaningful around some of the most important and urgent AI policy issues like the technology’s impact on policing, immigration, and worker’s rights.”

Despite criticism, the framework does lay out an actionable path to leveraging existing pools of funding and government measures to quickly distribute the $32 billion in R&D funding across government and private sector stakeholders. This includes prioritizing facets of the landmark CHIPS and Science Act that haven’t been fully allocated, as well as addressing backlogged NIST initiatives related to AI development. 

Government policies ramp up alongside business adoption

While critics may rightly be concerned that AI innovation is outpacing necessary consumer protections, it’s worth noting that AI adoption has gone from “experimental to operational” for businesses across sectors. 

Aside from a rise in the number of companies that are directly involved in developing new AI solutions, businesses are relying on AI to fill in operation gaps and drive efficiency in the face of myriad economic challenges. 

According to the latest research from Ramp, for instance, the average business spent $1,500 on AI tools in Q1 2024, marking a 138 percent year-over-year jump. Zooming out across the entire year, AI spending grew 293 percent among Ramp customers—and shows no signs of slowing. 

To that end, mid-market companies are leading the AI adoption charge, with average company spend jumping from just over $1,000 in Q1 2023 to more than $2,500 today. 

AI and automation to drive efficiencies and scale

While the concerns around the rapid adoption of AI are valid, investments—from both the government and the private sector—into advancing AI are a worthwhile endeavor that’s proving to pay off. 

Not only are businesses within and outside of tech benefiting from new AI solutions to achieve more cost-effective operational functions, innovative companies that are driving new AI solutions will have the opportunity to leverage government support to help fund their R&D. 

The US’s R&D Tax Credit, for instance, can be used to offset income taxes or employer payroll taxes for businesses that are engaged in truly innovative research and development. This can help them offset their tax liability, maintain more liquidity, and potentially even maintain equity in their business as they work to create new solutions that help advance the field. 

Beyond federal incentives, their are R&D tax credits at the state level across the US that teams can tap into to fuel more R&D and create homegrown AI solutions that the government may want to help fund.

At Boast, we’ve worked with thousands of startups across North America to capture non-dilutive funding to help fuel their product roadmap and enhance their R&D. 

Along with insights into available tax credits, our platform combines key financial and project tracking systems into a single source of intelligence, giving you the insight you need to optimize strategies and capitalize on the innovation your team is driving. 

Talk to one of our R&D tax credit experts today to understand how you can tap into government funding to capture innovation capital that can extend your runway. 

New AI Framework FAQ

  1. What is the new AI framework proposed in the US Senate? The new framework, titled “The Driving US Innovation in Artificial Intelligence”, proposes a $32 billion government investment into non-defense AI research. It aims to promote AI innovation and maintain the US’s competitiveness in the field.
  2. Does the framework address AI regulation and privacy concerns? No, the framework lacks urgent or explicit guidelines on federal AI regulation or data privacy laws. It suggests relying on “existing laws for AI” as an immediate form of protection, despite the lack of a federal data privacy framework in the US.
  3. How does the framework plan to allocate the $32 billion funding? The framework outlines leveraging existing funding pools and measures, such as the CHIPS and Science Act and NIST initiatives, to quickly distribute the funds across government and private sector stakeholders.
  4. Why is AI adoption increasing in the private sector? AI adoption has gone from “experimental to operational” for businesses across sectors. Companies are relying on AI to fill operational gaps and drive efficiency amidst economic challenges. Average business spending on AI tools grew significantly in Q1 2024 compared to the previous year.
  5. How can businesses benefit from government support for AI innovation? Businesses engaged in innovative AI research and development can leverage government incentives like the R&D Tax Credit to offset income or payroll taxes, maintain liquidity, and potentially secure equity in their business. State-level R&D tax credits are also available across the US.

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