Pentagon officials have long said that strides in artificial intelligence technology could revolutionize the future of warfare. With major efforts such as Project Maven--which developed platforms to analyze reams of drone footage--already under its belt, the department is taking concrete steps to further streamline AI into various facets of the department including warfighting and its business practices.
In February, the Defense Department released a new document, "Summary of the 2018 Department of Defense Artificial Intelligence Strategy: Harnessing AI to Advance Our Security and Prosperity." The strategy is meant to drive urgency, scale and unity of effort as the services pursue the technology.
"AI is poised to transform every industry and is expected to impact every corner of the [Defense] Department, spanning operations, training, sustainment, force protection, recruiting, health care and many others," the summary said. "With the application of AI to defense, we have an opportunity to improve support for and protection of U.S. service members, safeguard our citizens, defend our allies and partners and improve the affordability and speed of our operations."
The new strategy comes as nations such as Russia and China--which the Pentagon considers peer competitors--are making investments in artificial intelligence including for applications that raise questions regarding international norms and human rights, the report noted.
"These investments threaten to erode our technological and operational advantages and destabilize the free and open international order," it warned.
A recent report by the Center for a New American Security, "Understanding China's AI Strategy: Clues to Chinese Strategic Thinking on Artificial Intelligence and National Security," found that China's government and industry already believe they have closed the gap with the United States in research and development and commercial products.
"China now sees AI as 'a race of two giants,' between itself and the United States," the report, authored by Gregory C. Allen, said. The country's ministry of national defense has already established two major new research organizations focused on developing capabilities, it added.
The two Beijing-based organizations--the Unmanned Systems Research Center and the Artificial Intelligence Research Center--will be nestled under the National Innovation Institute of Defense Technology, the report said.
The organizations were created in early...