Google executive urges lawmakers to back Pentagon AI efforts

The Pentagon, but digitized. (Graphic by Breaking Defense. Circuit photo by Pixabay.)

WASHINGTON: This week, a Google artificial intelligence expert made his case on Capitol Hill for lawmakers to support the Defense Department’s artificial intelligence initiatives, particularly the new head of digital and AI ( CDAO), before the United States fell behind their opponents.

Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee subcommittee on cybersecurity, Andrew Moore, vice president and director of Google Cloud Artificial Intelligence, said he was encouraged by the creation of the CDAO, but worried about the support of legislators to the DoD’s AI efforts.

“I wish this person much success. That’s how we’re going to be successful…by having a centralized effort to put an artificial intelligence strategy in place across the DoD,” Moore said Tuesday. “What worries me…for this person is whether they’re going to get enough support from the government and the DoD center to make the necessary changes. Because you can’t just magic AI on top of existing systems, you have to think about how you’re going to change operations. So please support your top AI leaders. »

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In April, the Pentagon announced Craig Martell, now a former head of machine learning at Lyft, as the DoD’s first CADD. In a exclusive interview With Breaking Defense, Martell acknowledged the industry downside, saying, “I don’t know my ways around the Pentagon yet and I don’t know what levers to pull. »

“I’m confident we’re going to be able to do great things,” Martell said. “But it’s going to be tough stuff. It’s going to be a challenge.

CDAO will be responsible for leading the DoD’s strategy to develop AI, data and analytics to enable faster and more accurate decision-making and will also play an important role in the Joint command and control in all domains Efforts.

Andrew Lohn, a senior fellow at Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technologies, told the hearing that while the DoD itself is still ahead of China and Russia when it comes to innovation, it has the opportunity to “get ahead of the industry in the contradictory context”.

The Pentagon is already ramping up its investments in AI, asking Congress to fund multiple efforts in fiscal year 2023 and beyond.

According to FY23 budget documentsthe DoD is seeking $273.34 million for demonstration and validation of AI and machine learning, $33.95 million for intelligence support, and $76.79 million for the AI and Data Accelerator effort. Funding would be aligned with CADD.

“I think part of the challenge we have here is trying to explain and express to other members here in the Senate how serious the threats are, but also how great the opportunities are and the recognition that AI is not something that’s 10 years from now,” Sen. Mike Rounds, the top Republican on the subcommittee, said. “It’s here, it’s here and it’s integrated into a lot of things we’re doing right now. »

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Google executive urges lawmakers to back Pentagon AI efforts


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