John Shanahan: JAIC’s Funding Issues Limit AI R&D Efforts

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Lt. Gen. Jack Shanahan

Lt. Gen. John Shanahan, the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center’s director and 2019 Wash100 Award recipient, said that reliable funding is a challenge as he seeks to recruit military and industry experts for AI research and development, USNI News reported Wednesday.

Shanahan told the publication at a U.S. Naval Institute event that operating the Department of Defense’s AI center under a continuing resolution limits the issuance of new contracts and keeps spending at the level of the previous year.

“There are a lot of people who want to go very quickly with A.I. but we live by five-year budget cycles,” he said.

Missy Cummings, director of the Humans and Autonomy Laboratory and Duke Robotics, added that part of the challenge is how the government lags behind Russia and China as well as its own commercial sector when it comes to AI efforts.

Shanahan noted that he expects AI applications to evolve from simple logistical tasks to more complex actions such as missile system operations and medical treatments over time.

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