The National Institutes of Health (NIH) will be investing $130 million over the next four years to spread the use of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies in behavioral and biomedical research, the agency said on September 13.

The funding is part of the Bridge2AI program which aims to bring in people from diverse technical backgrounds to employ AI to generate detailed data to answer some of the most challenging medical issues.

“Generating high-quality ethically sourced data sets is crucial for enabling the use of next-generation AI technologies that transform how we do research,” said Lawrence A. Tabak, who heads NIH.

“The solutions to long-standing challenges in human health are at our fingertips, and now is the time to connect researchers and AI technologies to tackle our most difficult research questions and ultimately help improve human health,” said Tabak.

AI is key to the development of medical research because of its ability “to mimic how humans sense, learn, reason, and take action,” NIH said.

Bridge2AI also looks to use AI as a potent tool for medical research to reduce the amount of ineffective data that can give sloppy results by implementing new guidelines and standards for AI data in these fields.

“Routinely collected biomedical and behavioral data sets are often insufficient, meaning they lack important contextual information about the data type, collection conditions, or other parameters,” the agency said.

“In order to harness the power of AI for biomedical discovery and accelerate its use, scientists first need well-described and ethically created data sets, standards, and best practices for generating biomedical and behavioral data that is ready for AI analyses,” it said.

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Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.