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Pentagon Leaders Discuss Defense Efforts in Artificial Intelligence

Steven Walker, director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, said at a Senate hearing that one-third of AI Next projects are creating artificial intelligence technologies or running in AI, the Department of Defense said Thursday.

Walker testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday along with Michael Brown, director of the Defense Innovation Unit, and Lt. Gen. Jack Shanahan, director of the recently created Joint Artificial Intelligence Center.

Walker noted that DARPA has 20 new programs run by AI. More than 80 programs within the agency are AI-driven following the agency’s $2B investment in the field.

Brown told senators that the Defense Innovation Unit seeks to develop AI-based computer vision capabilities in an effort to “maintain our technology edge, not only in AI, but in other dual-used technologies.”

“The more we collaborate with the private sector on mutually beneficial projects, the more opportunities we’ll have to engage in open dialogue about the applications and principles for the use of AI,” Brown said.

The artificial intelligence center’s first two national mission initiatives include using AI for disaster response and predictive maintenance for the U.S. Army’s UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, Shanahan said. He added that the center is at the “early problem-framing stage” for a proposed national mission initiative for fiscal year 2020.

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