Biden Tech Agency Grapples With Lab Flooding And Funding Woes Amid AI Regulation Push

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Daily Caller News Foundation logo
Jason Cohen Contributor
Font Size:

President Joe Biden’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which is tasked with overseeing artificial intelligence (AI) regulation, is dealing with lab and funding issues, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday.

Biden’s sweeping AI executive order tasks the NIST with ensuring AI is safely deployed, including by establishing guidelines and goals for reviewing the capabilities of the technology to mitigate its negative impacts. The agency’s lack of funding has led to its campuses in Maryland and Colorado experiencing black mold, repeated blackouts, inconsistent internet connections, leaks, floods and minimal staff, according to over a dozen former and current employees, Biden administration officials and others the Post interviewed, some of whom commented anonymously because of lack of authorization to speak with media. (RELATED: Kamala Harris Enlists Liberal Megadonors To Combat ‘Disinformation’ And Safeguard ‘Democracy’ From AI)

“If we knew rain was coming, we’d tarp up the microscope,” James Fekete, who until 2018 was chief of NIST’s applied chemicals and materials division, told the Post. “It leaked enough that we were prepared.”

NIST is currently working on establishing an AI Safety Institute, which is backed by over 200 entities, including Big Tech companies. Certain individuals in the AI sector worry that Big Tech will have an outsized influence on the regulatory agency because the tech giants are helping to provide it with resources, according to the Post.

Amazon is contributing $5 million in computing resources to the institute while Microsoft is offering engineering teams, according to the Post.

“You see dust everywhere because the windows don’t seal,” former acting NIST director Kent Rochford, who left the agency in 2018, told the Post. “You see a bucket catching drips from a leak in the roof. You see Home Depot dehumidifiers or portable AC units all over the place.”

The NIST is part of the Commerce Department.

“While the administration has been clear that additional resources will be required to fully address all of the issues posed by AI in the long term, NIST has been effectively carrying out its responsibilities under the [executive order] and is prepared to continue to lead on AI-related research and other work,” Commerce Department spokesman Charlie Andrews told the Post.

The White House hosted a meeting in January with representatives from several organizations backed by left-wing entities to mold AI policy. They discussed the Biden administration’s commitment to policies that foster “fair, open, and competitive markets,” according to a readout.

Moreover, the administration collaborated with some of the same left-wing philanthropies in November on an AI initiative to combat “disinformation” and shield “democracy” from AI threats, according to a project document.

The White House pointed the Daily Caller News Foundation to a post asserting the Biden administration “has so far met every single one of the milestones laid out by @POTUS ‘ EO. And the groundbreaking AI work being done by NIST is not being carried out in any of the facilities described below,” in reference to the Post’s report.

The NIST and Commerce Department did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include a response from the White House on the Post’s report.

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.