Pentagon experiments with artificial intelligence that can predict events “days in advance”

If you’re wondering how advanced artificial intelligence (AI) systems are becoming, you know that the U.S. military is testing an experimental AI network designed to identify likely future events worthy of close attention, days in advance.

The test series is called Global Information Dominance Experiments (GIDE), and it combines data from a huge number of sources, including satellite imagery, intelligence reports, field sensors, radar, and more.

Cloud computing also plays an important role in this system, enabling the efficient processing of vast amounts of data collected from around the world and subsequent access to it by those military officials and agencies who need it.

“GIDE, the Global Information Dominance Experiment, embodies a fundamental change in how we use information and data to expand decision-making space for leaders from the tactical to the strategic level — not just for military leaders, but it also empowers our civilian leaders,” Air Force Gen. Glenn D. VanHurk explained at a press briefing last week.

The idea is to anticipate the actions of other nations ahead of time, which means that deterrents and precautions can be taken before hostilities begin or before hostilities have a chance to escalate.

In fact, the gains made as a result of AI are not as great as one might think – for example, if a submarine is being prepared to leave port, it is quite obvious that it is headed out to sea. Where AI really helps is in using machine learning to identify and correlate all this information much faster than humans can.

Another example is the number of cars in a parking lot, perhaps at a military base or research station. If the AI notices increased activity, it can report it to other parts of the system, where that information is then analyzed as part of a huge data set.

“The data exists,” VanHerck said. “What we’re doing is making that data available, making that data go to the cloud, where machine learning and artificial intelligence are looking at it. They process it very quickly and provide decision makers with what I call superior decision-making.”

“It gives us days of advance warning and the ability to respond. Where in the past we might not have been able to even look at a GEOINT satellite image with an analyst, we now do it within minutes or almost in real time.”

Understandably, the U.S. doesn’t talk too much about exactly how these new artificial intelligence systems work or how they process the information they collect, but the end result is more data processed in a shorter time. A third GIDE trial has recently been completed, and a fourth is planned.

Although at the moment the experiments look a bit like the movie “Minority Opinion” where people are arrested for crimes before they have been committed – officials see them as a form of information gathering with increased efficiency, not as a way to look into the future.

VanHerck stresses that people still make all decisions based on the data that machine learning systems produce, and says that the AI being developed will likely end up de-escalating situations, not the other way around.

“The ability to see days in advance creates decision-making space,” VanHurk said. “For me, as an operational commander, the decision-making space to potentially deploy forces to create deterrence options and submit that to the chiefs of staff committee or even the president for consideration.”

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