If you are looking for an answer to the question What is Artificial Intelligence? and you only have a minute, then here's the definition the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence offers on its home page: "the scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines."
However, if you are fortunate enough to have more than a minute, then please get ready to embark upon an exciting journey exploring AI (but beware, it could last a lifetime) …
CLASSIC DOGFIGHTS, in which two pilots match wits and machines to shoot down their opponent with well-aimed gunfire, are a thing of the past. Guided missiles have seen to that, and the last recorded instance of such duelling was 32 years ago, near the end of the Iran-Iraq war, when an Iranian F-4 Phantom took out an Iraqi Su-22 with its 20mm cannon. But memory lingers, and dogfighting, even of the simulated sort in which the laws of physics are substituted by equations running inside a computer, is reckoned a good test of the aptitude of a pilot in training. And that is also true when the pilot in question is, itself, a computer program. So, when America's Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), an adventurous arm of the Pentagon, considered the future of air-to-air combat and the role of artificial intelligence (AI) within that future, it began with basics that Manfred von Richthofen himself might have approved of.
CLASSIC DOGFIGHTS, in which two pilots match wits and machines to shoot down their opponent with well-aimed gunfire, are a thing of the past. Guided missiles have seen to that, and the last recorded instance of such combat was 32 years ago, near the end of the Iran-Iraq war, when an Iranian F-4 Phantom took out an Iraqi Su-22 with its 20mm cannon. But memory lingers, and dogfighting, even of the simulated sort in which the laws of physics are substituted by equations running inside a computer, is reckoned a good test of the aptitude of a pilot in training. And that is also true when the pilot in question is, itself, a computer program. So, when America's Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), an adventurous arm of the Pentagon, considered the future of air-to-air combat and the role of artificial intelligence (AI) within that future, it began with basics that Manfred von Richthofen himself might have approved of.
Thankfully, in many cases, we live up to it. But our present digital reality is quite different, even sobering. Fighting terrorists for nearly 20 years after 9/11, we remained a flip-phone military in what is now a smartphone world. Infrastructure to support a robust digital force remains painfully absent. Consequently, service members lead personal lives digitally connected to almost everything and military lives connected to almost nothing.
Collecting and generating quality data sets to train artificial intelligence models needs to be a priority for the department, with some officials arguing it should be a requirement in contracts moving forward. By being proactive about collecting and generating data, the future of AI can be built on quality inputs, Michael Kanaan, director of operations at the Air Force's AI Accelerator at MIT, said Tuesday during the AFCEA DCAI and ML Technology Summit. Other technology officials endorsed the idea of being more aggressive about data collection rather than being "opportunistic" or working on old, lower quality data sets. For instance, the Air Force used quality data to train a machine learning model that turned the boards that officials use to manually track flight times into an automated, intelligent system. The ML system that replaced the "puck boards" ensured pilots got enough hours to maintain mission readiness.
The next year will be pivotal for the Air Force's effort to acquire a new class of autonomous drones, as industry teams compete for a chance to build a fleet of robotic wingmen that will soon undergo operational experimentation. The "Skyborg" program is one of the service's top science-and-technology priorities under the "Vanguard" initiative to deliver game-changing capabilities to its warfighters. The aim is to acquire relatively inexpensive, attritable unmanned aircraft that can leverage artificial intelligence and accompany manned fighter jets into battle. "I expect that we will do sorties where a set number are expected to fly with the manned systems, and we'll have crazy new [concepts of operation] for how they'll be used," Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Will Roper said during an online event hosted by the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies. The platforms might even be called upon to conduct kamikaze missions.
Beijing now controls the largest navy in the world and is attempting to double the size of its nuclear warhead stockpile over the next decade; reaction from Fox News senior strategic analyst Gen. Jack Keane, chairman of the Institute for the Study of War. New attack drones, 5th-generation stealth fighter jets, reconfigured cargo planes and Russian-built air defenses are making China's Air Force even deadlier. In fact, all of these advances present a great concern to U.S. war planners. The size of the People's Liberation Army Air Force is reported to include a total of 2,500 aircraft, making it the third-largest in the world, according to the Pentagon's 2020 China Military Power report. U.S. threat assessors are not merely concerned about the size of the Chinese Air Force but the increasing technical sophistication and multi-mission tactics with which it operates.
The U.S. Air Force is expanding its embrace of predictive analytics tools to keep pace with maintenance demands for its huge fleet of fighters, bombers, tankers, transports and helicopters. There is no shortage of U.S. military aircraft, with estimates ranging as high as 5,400 for the Air Force alone. The problem has been keeping that air armada flying. According to Air Force Times, aircraft readiness as measured as a percentage of planes able to fly has steadily decreased over the past decade. Hence, the service has been enlisting analytics and AI software companies to help get a handle on maintaining increasingly complex aircraft loaded with electronics gear.
Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com. A forward-operating, satellite-networked Air Force drone comes across a small, moving group of enemy surface ships heading toward vulnerable areas, when instant data is sent to Navy ships' commanders and land-based Army weapons operators in real-time, enabling a coordinated, multi-pronged attack using deck-fired Tomahawk missiles fired from the ocean, land-based attack rockets and fighter jets armed with air-to-surface weapons. This possible scenario, in which land, sea and air warriors and weapons system share information in real-time across vast, otherwise dispersed areas to optimize attack is precisely what the Pentagon intends with its new doctrinal and technical approach to future war. The Army, Navy and Air Force each have secure information-sharing combat network technology programs.
REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Sept. 2, 2020 – C3.ai, an enterprise artificial intelligence (AI) software provider for accelerating digital transformation, announced an agreement with the United States Air Force (USAF) Rapid Sustainment Office (RSO) to deliver and deploy the C3 AI Suite and C3.ai Readiness to support predictive analytics and maintenance across the Air Force enterprise. Predicting an aircraft weapon system's readiness and increasing fleet availability is essential to the U.S. military's operational success. RSO's Condition-Based Maintenance Plus (CBM) Program Office will use the C3 AI Suite and extend C3.ai Readiness to deploy an AI-based predictive maintenance application for the USAF to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of maintenance processes. The RSO will deploy this application to the HH-60 Pave Hawk aircraft weapon system and then assess further fielding to additional aircraft weapon systems. This initiative will also lay a foundation and framework for the enhancement of RSO's overall AI and machine learning capabilities. "C3.ai's proven technology has demonstrated success across multiple industries with its AI-based readiness application for predictive maintenance and logistics planning, making C3.ai an ideal partner to implement RSO's vision to increase mission readiness," said Nathan Parker‚ RSO Deputy Program Executive Officer.
The US Department of Defense (DoD) is worried that artificial intelligence programs might have serious and unknown vulnerabilities that adversaries could exploit. In particular, the Pentagon is worried that the technology could not only be hacked, but could be "spoofed". That is, it could be intentionally deceived into thinking that it sees objects – or military targets – that do not exist. The opposite is true as well: military targets could be erroneously ignored. That is one reason the US Air Force (USAF) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology founded the "MIT-Air Force AI Accelerator" in 2019.