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) …
The Cabinet approved a defense budget Friday of ¥5.40 trillion ($47 billion) for fiscal 2022, setting a record high for the eighth consecutive year, to advance the development of new technologies in the face of China's growing military might and the North Korean nuclear threat. The draft budget, including outlays for hosting U.S. military bases, rose 1.1% from the current fiscal year ending in March as Japan ramps up its defense capabilities. The increase for a 10th year in a row is largely attributable to a sharp rise in research and development spending, for which the Defense Ministry has earmarked ¥291.1 billion, up ¥79.6 billion, or 37.6%, from a year earlier. The ministry will invest in advanced technologies, such as crewless planes that use artificial intelligence to fly in teams with next-generation fighter jets. "As the security environment surrounding Japan has been changing at an unprecedented speed and becoming increasingly severe, it is an urgent task for Japan to strengthen its necessary defense capabilities," Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said at a news conference.
The Defense Ministry on Tuesday requested a ¥5.4 trillion ($49 billion) budget for fiscal 2022, aiming to accelerate enhancement of capabilities in new domains and promote the development of new technologies to deal with China's growing military presence. The request would exceed a record ¥5.3 trillion allocated in the initial budget for fiscal 2021 started in April, rising for the tenth consecutive year. It does not include outlays linked to hosting U.S. military bases, which have been about ¥200 billion annually. The ministry said it also left out the cost of upgrading 70 F-15 fighter jets. It aims to install Lockheed Martin's air-to-surface standoff missile and will continue negotiations with the United States to decrease the estimated total cost of ¥398 billion.
The Defense Ministry will seek another record budget of over ¥5.4 trillion ($49 billion) for fiscal 2022, aiming to beef up its capabilities around remote southwestern islands to counter China's growing naval activities, government sources have said. The request would exceed the ministry's highest-ever ¥5.3 trillion initial budget for fiscal 2021, which started in April, and also reflects an increase in the cost to develop cutting-edge technologies, such as unmanned aircraft using artificial intelligence, the sources said Thursday. The defense budget could further expand, possibly topping 1% of Japan's gross domestic product, when it is finalized in December, as the request excludes outlays linked to hosting U.S. military bases. Japan's defense budget has long stayed at around 1% of its GDP, in light of the country's postwar pacifist Constitution and since the Cabinet decided in 1976 that the outlays should not exceed 1%. The last time the defense expenditure exceeded 1% was in fiscal 2010, when the GDP shrank sharply following the 2008-2009 global financial crisis.
Meet Project Overlord: The Marines' Plan for Robot Ships to Move Their Soldiers and Supplies Earlier this year Navy leaders requested $400 million from Congress for two LUSVs in the 2020 proposed defense budget, with eight more to be purchased over the next five years. WASHINGTON – U.S. Marine Corps leaders plan to capitalize on a U.S. Navy plan to develop a Large Unmanned Surface Vessel (LUSV) for long-range resupply missions, and troop transport for Marine Corps warfighters. Smith made his comments today at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) Defense, Protection, and Security conference in Washington. The future Navy LUSV could rendezvous with Navy amphibious assault ships offshore to move Marines and supplies quickly where needed, at perhaps lower costs and less risk to human ship crews than is possible today, Smith told AUVSI attendees in a keynote address. Unmanned systems "are less expensive than people," Smith pointed out in his address.
A new federal commission on artificial intelligence is being led by Democrats. The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (AI), a federally appointed commission, held its first meeting Monday chaired by former Google executive and billionaire Eric Schmidt, a major donor and informal adviser to former President Barack Obama. The commission's vice chairman is Robert Work, who was deputy defense secretary in the Obama administration. Additionally, the AI commission has hired as a staff member Ylli Bajraktari, a former National Security Council staff member under Mr. Obama. Mr. Bajraktari also was a former aide to Obama Defense Secretary Ash Carter.
On Monday, President Trump signed the the $717 billion annual National Defense Authorization Act, which was easily passed by Congress in weeks prior. Much attention has understandably been placed on big-ticket items like $7.6 billion for acquiring 77 F-35 fighters, $21.9 billion for the nuclear weapons program, and $1.56 billion for three littoral combat ships--despite the fact that the Navy requested only one in the budget. What has gotten less attention is how the bill cements artificial intelligence programs in the Defense Department and lays the groundwork for a new national-level policy and strategy in the form of an artificial intelligence commission. As artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms are integrated into defense technology, spending on these technologies is only going to increase in years to come. While spending for many AI programs in the NDAA is in the tens of millions at present, one budget for a project that did not go through the normal appropriations process could have a total cost of $1.75 billion over the next seven years.