Pentagon again warns on imperative to move forward in artificial intelligence

Pentagon again warns on imperative to move forward in artificial intelligence

Amir Husain, author of “The Sentient Machine,” speaks about artificial intelligence at USSOCOM headquarters on MacDill Air Force Base in Florida on Jan. 25. Husain’s speech was part of the USSOCOM Commander’s Speaker Series designed to inform and engage senior special operations forces leaders (Master Sgt. Barry Loo/U.S. Air Force)

WASHINGTON – The Pentagon said the U.S. and its allies must adopt, embrace and accelerate innovations in artificial intelligence to at least keep pace with adversaries and continue to offer baseline protection to its population.

In a report issued Tuesday on the need for artificial intelligence (AI) as the latest technological advancement critical to defense, the Pentagon said it will launch with “urgency, scale, and unity of effort needed to navigate this transformation” to catch up to AI gains made by China and Russia.

“The costs of of not implementing this strategy are clear,” the report, called “Harnessing AI to Advance Our Security and Prosperity,” said.

“Failure to adopt AI will result in legacy systems irrelevant to the defense of our people, eroding cohesion among allies and partners, reduced access to markets that will contribute to a decline in our prosperity and standard of living, and growing challenges to societies that have been built upon individual freedoms,” it said.

No dollar amounts were associated with the proposal.

On Monday, President Donald Trump issued a White House directive ordering the government to make research, development and implementation of seamless artificial intelligence a national priority.

“The present moment is pivotal,” the Pentagon report said. “We must act to protect our security and advance our competitiveness, seizing the initiative to lead the world in the development and adoption of transformative defense AI solutions that are safe, ethical, and secure.”

The Pentagon started its push to upgrade and enhance AI last summer by establishing the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC). That goal of the center is to to accelerate the delivery of AI-enabled capabilities, expand and synchronize defense AI activities, deliver AI-enabled capabilities to address key missions, and attract and cultivate “a world-class AI team to supply trusted subject matter expertise on AI capability delivery” the report said.

The JAIC and those foundations, as well as a more intensified working relationship with academia and private industry, are key the new AI approach, the report said.

“Other nations, particularly China and Russia, are making significant investments in AI for military purposes, including in applications that raise questions regarding international norms and human rights,” the report said. “These investments threaten to erode our technological and operational advantages and destabilize the free and open international order.”

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