China has been developing its AI capabilities heavily for a while and it would safe to assume that the country is a few years ahead of its competition. In such a situation, it is a no-brainer for the US to start investing in AI as well. The future of warfare might not be tactical missiles or nuclear warheads but Artificial Intelligence systems capable of handling vast amounts of tactical data.
Advanced systems could even cripple the enemy’s electronics. So come up with their own countermeasures, the Pentagon has just launched a new Artificial Intelligence or AI initiative which is designed to enhance the curation process of massive amounts of tactical data. The announcement came from Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks. This announcement might just be the start of the AI arms race.
Hicks revealed information about the initiative at a virtual AI Symposium. The initiative is known as DoD AI and Data Acceleration initiative, or ADA. ADA is meant to rapidly advance data and AI-dependent concepts such as joint all-domain command and control, or JADC2.
According to Hicks, “The ADA initiative will generate foundational capabilities through a series of implementation experiments or exercises, each one purposely building understanding through successive and incremental learning”. ADA will change how the Pentagon sees information now. In order to build a solid AI foundation, information has been treated as a key strategic asset. The more data you have, the more you can train your AI models.
Hicks further explained that “Data enables the creation of algorithmic models, and with the right data we are able to take concepts and ideas and turn them into reality. We will ensure that DoD data is visible, accessible, understandable, linked, trustworthy, interoperable and secure”. The DoD ADA initiative comes after a $2 billion investment in AI research a few years ago with DARPA announcing a campaign focusing on handcrafted knowledge, statistical learning, and contextual reasoning.
“We are creating operational data teams that will be dispatched to all 11 combatant commands. These teams will rapidly work to catalog, manage and automate data feeds that inform decision-making”. It seems that the new AI initiative is pretty ambitious. While many may argue the ethical concerns that a future of AI-driven warfare has, it’s something that is necessary if the US wants to compete on an even playing field.