21:51 GMT26 January 2020
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    Over recent years, the Pentagon has introduced several projects that sought to use AI capabilities in the military, such as predicting an enemy's movements or even constructing and preliminary testing of new weapons.

    On 13 November, retired US General, who served in Special Operations Command, Tony Thomas stated that the Pentagon is moving too slow on implementing AI capabilities in the military, Defence One reported.

    If that wasn't enough, the majority of AI use in American forces is mostly limited to "iterating on what we already do, what we already have", according to Thomas, who suggested that instead the Pentagon must "more aggressively and more creatively thinking [sic] what the art of the possible is".

    "[There’s a ] lack of imagination and a lack of urgency. I don’t want to come off in terms of negative criticism […] But I am a little bit concerned about the pace and the speed that we’re approaching the challenge [of introducing AI into the military]", he said.

    Speaking about possible applications of the AI technology, Thomas said that throughout his career he hasn't seen "anything that we couldn’t [or] shouldn’t go unmanned". He suggested that introducing AI-controlled robots in the air, on the ground, and at sea can give American forces an upper edge.

    "If you push a force out there that is mostly unmanned, and that’s your attack surface, I think you have a decided advantage and maybe even the best possible deterrent", the general said.

    Thomas concluded that his only regret was that he spent his time at Special Operations Command increasing the size of its team instead of spending more time and resources to push for the introduction of AI and other new technologies into the US military.

    US First Take on Using AI in the Military

    Despite Thomas's criticism, the Pentagon is exploring several possibilities of using AI. One of them suggests using artificial intelligence in the construction of new weapons models and conducting initial modelling tests of them. Pentagon believes it can drastically reduce both the costs and the time of development since many non-viable options for weapons can be discarded quickly and on the first stages of development.

    At the same time, according to a report by Defence One, the US Pacific Air Force (PACAF) has been developing an AI-based system that will be able to analyse huge amounts of data on a potential enemy's movements in a bid to predict its next step or even imminent attack. Its reported goal is to prevent tragedies like the attack on the American fleet at Pearl Harbor during the Second World War.


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