The US military is testing cutting edge artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms that the Pentagon says will allow American forces to predict major events potentially days before they happen.
According to a press briefing by the US Department of Defense this week, the series of tests are called the Global Information Dominance Experiments (GIDE), and they combine data from a huge variety of sources, including satellite imagery, intelligence reports, sensors in the field, radar, and more.
The experiment, conducted by the Pentagon, saw 11 US command units simulate the takeover of crucial sites such as the Panama Canal, US Air Force General Glen D. VanHerck explained.
Vanherck stated that during a simulated operation, data obtained from various sensors both military and civilian, spread out across vast distances, is fed into an artificial intelligence model capable of detecting patterns and providing alerts when signs are detected such as a submarine preparing to leave port.
GIDE was designed to access real-time information that assists military leaders to prepare for enemy action and has the potential to deter conflict before it even starts.
Knowing what an adversary is doing prior to them doing it creates time to review strategies and plan within a conflict scenario, which is invaluable and could potentially create opportunities to avoid deadly conflict before it can emerge.
Cloud computing plays a role
Cloud computing also plays an important part, making sure that vast chunks of data collected from all over the world can be processed efficiently, and then accessed by whichever military officials and agencies need them.
“GIDE, the Global Information Dominance Experiments, embodies a fundamental change in how we use information and data to increase decision space for leaders from the tactical level to the strategic level – not only military leaders, but also gives opportunity for our civilian leaders,” VanHerck explained.
“Right now, the threats we face and the pace of change in the geostrategic environment continues to advance at really alarming rates. We’ve entered an era of new and renewed strategic competition, and this time, we’re facing two peer competitors, both nuclear-armed, that are competing against us on a daily basis.”
“The goal of the GIDE experiments is to outpace competitors by accelerating efforts to transform culture, including factoring in homeland defense into every strategy, every plan, force management, force design decision, as well as aspects of acquisition and budget so that we can deter in competition, de-escalate in crisis and if required, defeat in conflict,” VanHerck said.
Using AI can detect changes, trigger alert for military
He asserted that by utilizing machine learning and AI they can detect changes in watched parameters that would then trigger an alert supplying the military with information that would allow them to focus on a specific location like, for instance, the Panama Canal.
“What we’ve seen is the ability to get way further what I call left, left of being reactive to actually being proactive. And I’m talking not minutes and hours, I’m talking days.” VanHerck said. “The ability to see days in advance creates decision space. Decision space for me as an operational commander (allows us) to potentially posture forces (or) to create deterrence options to provide to the secretary or even the president.”
VanHerck stressed that all the information used to feed the artificial intelligence algorithms already existed; it is simply being utilized in a very different manner.
“Keep in mind that it’s not new information. It’s information that today is just not analyzed and processed until later in the time cycle, if you will,” he said.
“And all we’re doing is taking and sharing it and making it available sooner. So that our key decision-makers will have options versus being reactive where they may be forced to take some kind of escalation option.” he added.
VanHerck said that humans are still making all the decisions based on the data that the machine-learning systems produce – and says the AI under development will likely end up de-escalating situations, rather than the opposite.