U.S. Department of Defense will invest up to $2 billion in AI research

The U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) will invest up to $2 billion in artificial intelligence over the next five years, The Washington Post reports. The funding will back dozens of projects as part of a planned the “Third Wave” of AI technology development, which DARPA Director Steven Walker said would explore “how machines can acquire human-like communication and reasoning capabilities.”

Google announced in June that it would not renew a contract with the DoD to develop AI for drone footage analysis, after workers complained about participating in the defense industry. The Chinese government has been pouring investment into the field as part of a plan to become a world leader in AI by 2030.

The projects funded with the newly announced billions will be in addition to more than 20 active AI research programs. Applications for proposed research projects include security vetting for individuals and “explainable AI,” which enables software to communicate how it reached a certain conclusion.

The Post reports that the U.S. government spent more than $2 billion on AI research and development in the 2017 fiscal year, and Pentagon also launched the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center in June.

DARPA recently published a pitch for funding to develop biometrics-based tools for assessing the health and mission-readiness of personnel in the field.

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