DOD’s Artificial Intelligence Initiatives Outlined Before Senate

Three Defense Department research entities outlined the department’s artificial intelligence initiatives in the face of great power competition March 12 during a hearing held by the Senate Armed Services Committee here.

Witnesses included Steven H. Walker, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency director; Michael Brown, Defense Innovation Unit director; and Air Force Lt. Gen. John N. T. “Jack” Shanahan, Joint Artificial Intelligence Center director.

AI is changing computers from tools to partners, Walker told the senators.

“It’s a great time to be at DARPA because we’re on the brink of a lot of really exciting things and that’s the genesis of the current initiative – the $2 billion investment that we’ve said we’re now making in AI technologies,” he said.

DARPA’s AI focuses on dealing with adversarial AI, high-performance computing cycles and minimizing energy, while delivering radically new capabilities, Walker said.

“This is the … genesis of the AI Next campaign — creating systems capable of reasoning with generative, contextual and explanatory models,” the DARPA director said. “We already have over 20 [new] programs running in AI,” with more than 80 programs in the agency, he added.

“About one-third of the programs in the entire agency now are either creating AI technologies or [are] aggressive users of those technologies,” Walker said.

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