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) …
Workers from Google's parent company Alphabet have announced they are unionising, with the Alphabet Workers Union open to all of the tech giant's 120,000-plus employees. The union, currently boasting a membership of 226, has the support of the Communications Workers of America (CWA). It's part of CWA's Coalition to Organize Digital Employees project, and the workers will be members of CWA Local 1400. According to the union, it comprises dues-paying members, an elected board of directors, and paid organising staff. "This union builds upon years of courageous organising by Google workers," program manager Nicki Anselmo said in a statement.
Harnessing artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies has become the new arms race among the great powers, a Hudson Institute panel on handling big data in military operations said Monday. Speaking at the online forum, Richard Schultz, director of the international security program in the Fletcher School at Tufts University, said, "that's the way [Russian President Vladimir] Putin looks at it. I don't think we have a choice" but to view it the same way. He added in answer to a question that "the data in information space is enormous," so finding tools to filter out what's not necessary is critical. U.S. Special Operations Command is already using AI to do what in the old days was called political or psychological warfare, in addition to targeting, he added.
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.
The Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) is the Department of Defense's lead organization for accelerating the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) across the services. And it's a critical role, as top leaders believe AI will eventually impact every warfighting domain, even every mission, the DOD undertakes. With NPS faculty and students currently teaching and researching varied AI concepts and applications, and translating them into future naval capabilities, the university is deeply embedded in advancing the technology and the DOD's AI workforce. With this role in mind, NPS hosted two of the JAIC's most senior leaders, retired Air Force Lt. Gen. John N.T. "Jack" Shanahan, the inaugural and former Director, and Nand Mulchandani, the current Chief Technology Officer, to speak to students, faculty and staff about their experiences organizing efforts to develop artificial intelligence (AI) projects on a DOD scale during NPS' latest virtual Secretary of the Navy Guest Lecture (SGL), held Oct. 13. Shanahan and Mulchandani are the latest high-profile leaders to participate in the virtual SGL series, following the likes of retired Adm. Mike Mullen, Army Gen. Keith B. Alexander and retired Navy Vice Adm. Jan E. Tighe, and retired Adm. William McRaven.
How do researchers talk to one another about the ethics of our research? How do you tell someone you are concernened their work may do more harm than good for the world? If someone tells you your work may cause harm, how do you receive that feedback with an open mind, and really listen? I find myself lately on both sides of this dilemma--needing both to speak to others and listen myself more. It is not easy on either side.
When the average person thinks about AI and robots what often comes to mind are post-apocalyptic visions of scary, super-intelligent machines taking over the world, or even the universe. The Terminator movie series is a good reflection of this fear of AI, with the core technology behind the intelligent machines powered by Skynet, referred to as an "artificial neural network-based conscious group mind and artificial general superintelligence system". However, the AI of today looks nothing like the worrisome science fiction representation. Rather, AI is performing many tedious and manual tasks and providing value from recognition and conversation systems to predictive analytics pattern matching and autonomous systems. In that context, the fact that governments and military organizations are investing heavily in AI shouldn't be as much concerning as it is intriguing. The ways that machine learning and AI are being implemented are both mundane from the perspective of enabling humans to do their existing tasks better, and very interesting seeing how machines are being made more intelligent to give humans better understanding and control of the environment around them.
As he departs, the Defense Department's top artificial intelligence official says the foundation is set for the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center -- but now it must deliver. "The foundational elements are now in place. What we have to do in the course of the next one to two years is deliver. This is about delivery first and foremost," Lt. Gen. Jack Shanahan said during a virtual Mitchell Institute event June 4. "What we have to do is show that we're making a difference."
The Defense Department is seeking to adapt artificial intelligence technology it uses to track down terrorists with drones or predict when aircraft need maintenance for a new purpose: screening and testing novel coronavirus treatments and vaccines. The Pentagon plans to boost existing programs with money Congress provided under the virus-relief CARES Act for the "development of artificial intelligence-based models to rapidly screen, prioritize, and test Food and Drug Administration approved therapeutics for new COVID-19 drug candidates." The AI funds would also be tapped for human test trials for vaccines and antibody based treatments, according to the spending plan the department submitted to congressional panels. Dick Durbin (Ill.), the Senate's No. 2 Democrat and ranking member on the Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, pressed for the plan's release. While the amount of money the Pentagon wants to use on these programs is small---close to $1 million--it shows some of the department's urgency to apply new technology to choke off the pandemic.
The chief executive of Google has called for international cooperation on regulating artificial intelligence technology to ensure it is'harnessed for good'. Sundar Pichai said that while regulation by individual governments and existing rules such as GDPR can provide a'strong foundation' for the regulation of AI, a more coordinated international effort is'critical' to making global standards work. The CEO said that history is full of examples of how'technology's virtues aren't guaranteed' and that with technological innovations come side effects. These range from internal combustion engines, which allowed people to travel beyond their own areas but also caused more accidents, to the internet, which helped people connect but also made it easier for misinformation to spread. These lessons teach us'we need to be clear-eyed about what could go wrong' in the development of AI-based technologies, he said.
With technology evolving at a fast pace, we have come a long way from the basic computers to presently using artificial intelligence in modern human warfare. In the current scenario of the world, it wouldn't be wrong to say that the country with the best technology intelligence and machines will be the strongest during the war. The era hasn't yet reached up till the dystopian future involving robocops, hammer drones or the Terminator. Instead, AI is being used to acquire better insights and make better decisions. Although we definitely cannot disregard the fact that artificial intelligence can be more dangerous than nuclear warheads, as once stated by Elon Musk.