A panel of Federal government artificial intelligence experts spoke on the importance of AI, ethical concerns, and use cases at the CXO Tech Forum on AI and Big Data in Government on Wednesday. Speaking on the subject of national security, Mike Madsen, partner at the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) and Todd Myers, automation lead at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) shed light on government uses for artificial intelligence and the ethical concerns surrounding the field.

The panel agreed that AI provides a temporal advantage for national security when it comes to military, humanitarian relief efforts, and disaster relief efforts.

“In today’s fast-paced world, we talk about information dominance and information superiority the same way we talk about air superiority and air supremacy in a battle space,” Madsen said.

Myers added that the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has projects in development involving machine learning, artificial intelligence and deep learning.

In conjunction with the Air Force, the Defense Innovation Unit is working on machine learning for predictive maintenance systems on aircrafts. After sorting through the data,  they found a 30 percent reduction in unscheduled maintenance per aircraft. Through more advancements in AI, the panel said there could be savings in time, money, and lives.

“This is something we’re very excited about. Scaling across aircraft platforms in the Air Force, but also the Army just signed a contract for predictive maintenance,” Madsen said.

The ethical concerns surrounding the use of AI in national security was also a big talking point for the panel. The experts agreed that there should be as much conversation as possible surrounding the use of AI and added that there should be a continuing dialogue between tech companies and the DoD.

“The days of integrating capabilities that can fit into distributed architecture are here to stay,” Myers said.

Among other topics of discussion during the tech forum were how the advancements in AI are helping the healthcare field. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is using AI to help expedite the FDA approvals process while using data to help flag potentially addictive medications. George Chambers, the Deputy CIO of the Department of Health and Human Services, said he sees the use of AI as an opportunity for infrastructural and operational advancements in the agency.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.