PENTAGON STEPS UP AI EFFORT AMID GOOGLE FIRESTORM A decision by Google to not renew a contract to develop artificial intelligence algorithms for the Defense Department is reverberating in the industry and AI world. The work was done under Project Maven, viewed as the military’s first major taste of the capabilities of AI. A petition from Google employees who demanded the company get out of the “business of war” prompted the move to end ties with DoD.
Google’s stance aside, the AI genie is out of the bottle and the Pentagon is already on a path to weaponize the technology. As tech entrepreneur Dan Feldman noted in a LinkedIn post, “Artificial intelligence like any technology is neither inherently military nor inherently civilian.” AI has already been weaponized for drone targeting, facial recognition, citizen tracking and surveillance, fake imagery and audio generation and cyber warfare.
Analyst Mikael Dubinsky of S4 Market Data, commented that Google bowing out of the project is about optics. “Most defense companies aren’t involved in our every day lives, data collecting, etc. Google is very visible to the consumer to be involved with this. It makes consumers feel uncomfortable. Everyone loves the idea of Skynet, but it’s less funny when they do it for real.”
MILITARY AI A BOON FOR GEOSPATIAL INDUSTRY Radiant Solutions plans to add 300 data scientists, software developers and geospatial analysts to its workforce of 1,100 over the next year to meet a growing demand for military intelligence and mapping. “We are seeing strong growth across the intelligence community and the Department of Defense,” Radiant’s president Tony Frazier told SpaceNews.
A burgeoning market associated with the rise of AI is training data. “Our goal is to make data openly available to facilitate the creation of great algorithms that we can then apply at scale against commercial and government sources,” Frazier said. DoD and the intelligence community are seeking technologies to automate data collection, extract information from data from both government and commercial sources. Competitions known as “machine learning challenges” — sponsored by the CIA’s investment arms In-Q-Tel and IARPA, by the Pentagon’s Silicon Valley office DIUx and by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency — are “indicative of the quest to transform the mapping and military intelligence mission.”