H.R. 4355 would require the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support research on manipulated digital content and information authenticity. The bill also would direct the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to create measurements and standards for the development of technological tools that examine generative adversarial networks (GANs), which are used to produce manipulated content.
Using information from the NSF, CBO estimates that implementing the bill would have no significant cost for the NSF because the agency is already carrying out the required activities through its existing grant programs. Using information from NIST, CBO estimates that the agency would require 10 additional employees at an average annual cost of $175,000 each over the 2020-2022 period to establish a research program on GANs and similar technologies. The bill also would direct NIST and the NSF to report to the Congress on related policy recommendations. Based on the costs of similar tasks, CBO estimates that developing the report would cost less than $500,000. In total, CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 4355 would cost $6 million over the 2020-2024 period; such spending would be subject to the availability of appropriated funds.