Inside the Pentagon’s Plan to Build A Trusted Partner In Artificial Intelligence


By AI Trends Staff

Last year, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) kicked off the AI Next campaign, a $2 billion effort to push the boundaries of AI including automating the scientific process, creating artificial common sense, and applying findings from insect brains to computer science. Valerie Browning, director of DARPA’s Defense Sciences Office, explored the efforts in a recent conversation with Nextgov.

“The grand vision for the AI Next campaign is to take machines and move them from being tools—perhaps very valuable tools—but really to be trusted, collaborative partners,” she said. The AI Next campaign is seeking to imbue computers with the competency and world knowledge that a partner would possess, she said. “Machine learning-enabled AI does certain tasks quite well—image classification, voice recognition, natural language processing, statistical pattern recognition—but we also know AI can fail quite spectacularly in unexpected ways. We can’t always accurately predict how they’re going to fail.”

Browning was cautiously optimistic about the White House’s National Artificial Intelligence Strategy. The emphasis is correct, she said, but she has concerns about the budgeting requirements. The strategy “does mandate that all the agencies, as they develop their budgets, make this a priority, but I don’t think we know what that price tag is,” she said. “Any attempt to try to say that this percentage of your budget or this top line [should go to AI], I don’t think we know that.”