DOD to host artificial intelligence industry day focused on five key areas

By Justin Doubleday / October 17, 2018 at 11:48 AM

The Defense Department's Project Maven team and its new Joint Artificial Intelligence Center are slated to meet with private companies next month to discuss five key areas in AI for the military.

The Nov. 28 industry day, hosted by the Army Research Laboratory along with Project Maven and JAIC officials, is being convened to talk "AI software prototyping activities and future industry participation," according to an Oct. 17 notice posted by the ARL. It invites all “technical businesses involved in” AI and machine learning to submit information about their capabilities.

The five areas DOD officials want to discuss with companies are training data, algorithms, integration, infrastructure and testing, according to the notice.

The "use cases" the Pentagon wants to apply the technologies toward are predictive maintenance, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, ISR, geospatial intelligence, force protection, robotic process automation and cyber, according to the document. It lists object detection and classification, visual search, natural language processing, language translation, optical character recognition, entity extraction and linking, anomaly detection and time series forecasting as possible AI capabilities that could be applied toward the use cases.

A registration link will be available on ARL's website beginning Oct. 22, the notice states.

The industry day is being convened after a year-long flurry of AI activity across the department. In December, Project Maven, which is run by the Pentagon's intelligence directorate, deployed its first algorithms for automating the processing, exploitation and dissemination of UAS video feeds to units in the Middle East.

Project Maven, also known as the Algorithmic Warfare Cross-Functional Team, has received the backing of Congress, but it has also been at the center of controversy after Google's engineers forced the company to stop its work on the project over concerns about the ethics of contributing to AI-powered warfare.

Meanwhile, Pentagon technology chief Mike Griffin announced in April the department was organizing the JAIC. Defense officials say their intent is for the center to coordinate efforts across the department, accelerate the fielding of AI and help attract world-class talent to the military. The department plans to establish JAIC outposts at several universities around the country.

A DOD reprogramming request delivered to lawmakers this summer shows the Pentagon plans to spend $1.7 billion through fiscal year 2023 on the JAIC. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency announced in September it plans to sink $2 billion into AI research and development over the next several years.