US task force to look into how military could use generative AI

'Hey our enemies are going to use this technology, so why shouldn't we?'

The US Department of Defense has set up Task Force Lima, a new team to investigate what generative AI can do for the military, with the stated aim of protecting national security. 

The task force was organized by the Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks and will be led by the Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office. It will analyze different tools like large language models and figure out how to integrate them into the military's software systems. 

"The establishment of Task Force Lima underlines the Department of Defense's unwavering commitment to leading the charge in AI innovation," Hicks said in a statement.

"As we navigate the transformative power of generative AI, our focus remains steadfast on ensuring national security, minimizing risks, and responsibly integrating these technologies. The future of defense is not just about adopting cutting-edge technologies, but doing so with foresight, responsibility, and a deep understanding of the broader implications for our nation," she added.

The US government is stepping up its efforts to regulate AI, and has urged leading companies to develop safeguards against the technology being misused to create biological weapons or malware. 

Craig Martell, the DoD's Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Officer and former head of machine learning at self-driving biz Lyft, said the US must examine and adopt AI despite the risks. 

"The DoD has an imperative to responsibly pursue the adoption of generative AI models while identifying proper protective measures and mitigating national security risks that may result from issues such as poorly managed training data," he said. "We must also consider the extent to which our adversaries will employ this technology and seek to disrupt our own use of AI-based solutions."

CDAO is particularly interested in applying generative AI models to create new tools that can enhance the military's warfighting and decision-making abilities, and improve other areas like health and policy too. 

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"The adoption of artificial intelligence in defense is not solely about innovative technology but also about enhancing national security," said US Navy Captain M. Xavier Lugo, who is also mission commander of Task Force Lima and a member of the CDAO's Algorithmic Warfare Directorate. "The DoD recognizes the potential of generative AI to significantly improve intelligence, operational planning, and administrative and business processes. However, responsible implementation is key to managing associated risks effectively."

In July, it was reported that the Pentagon has begun testing five different large language models' abilities to solve tasks like generating strategic plans.

The commercial models were given access to military documents and asked to create plans to solve hypothetical scenarios, like a global crisis. Current tools may not end up being much use to the military, however, considering their tendency to generate false, misleading information that cannot be trusted, especially in high-risk situations like combat or intelligence. ®

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