The Department of Defense’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) is scheduled to facilitate an international conference on the responsible use of AI for militaries next week, according to DoD CIO Dana Deasy, within whose office the JAIC is housed.

“The JAIC’s international engagement team is leading a robust and ongoing dialogue with allies from NATO, the European Union, and the Indo-Pacific about how we can shape our security cooperation and defense partnerships for the digital era to include discussions on AI ethics,” said Deasy, in his prepared remarks for the DoD Artificial Intelligence Symposium and Exposition on Sept. 10.

“To this end,” said Deasy, “next week the JAIC will facilitate the first ever ‘Partnership for Defense’ international dialogue that will bring together more than 10 nations to discuss the responsible use of AI for their respective militaries.”

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The department adopted its first set of ethical artificial intelligence principles in February, began inserting the principles into request for proposals in May, and completed the training for its first cohort of “Responsible AI Champions” in July.

“Our efforts with implementing AI ethical principles have gained the attention of our international partners,” Deasy said.

With the “Partnership for Defense,” the JAIC is taking abroad conversations about the “responsible use of AI” and fostering international dialogue about artificial intelligence and its ethics with regards to militaries, the CIO said.

“The partnership for defense is envisioned to serve as a recurring forum for like-minded defense partners to discuss their respective policies, approaches, and challenges in adopting AI-enabled capabilities,” said Lt. Commander Arlo Abrahamson, a JAIC spokesman. He said the specific countries for the Sept. 15-16 dialogue will be announced next week.

Deasy called the evolution of the JAIC “a journey that is still in the making,” with sharply rising appropriations. He noted the JAIC’s budget went from $89 million in Fiscal Year 2019 to $268 million in Fiscal Year 2020.

He also talked about a couple of successful AI “mission initiatives” away from the battlefield. Deasy said the JAIC recently delivered an “engine health model” predictive maintenance capability that is being used by the U.S. Army’s Special Operations Aviation Regiment to anticipate work on Black Hawk helicopters.

He also said AI is being used by the department in an administrative capacity with JAIC-built language-processing AI applications being used to review thousands of documents for accuracy, consistency, and compliance.

“Our objective is to field AI and help our nation prevail on tomorrow’s battlefield,” said Deasy, of the JAIC mission. Alluding to the department’s ethical efforts, he said, “The way we win matters!”

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Dwight Weingarten
Dwight Weingarten
Dwight Weingarten is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.