Army Wants to Study How Humans Team With AI—And Vice Versa

Anatolii Stoiko/

A new contract will focus on the teaming aspect of artificial intelligence in warfare by analyzing how humans and machines think when working together.

The future of warfare—and most other human endeavors—will include the integration of human agency and decision-making prowess with artificial intelligence. At present, interactions between humans and AI tools are not always intuitive, but the Army wants to change that.

The Army Research Laboratory issued a presolicitation notice Monday for a Human-Agent Teaming Research and Engineering Services contract to study how soldiers interact with AI and improve the training regimen for humans and machines.

The Army plans to award the contract to DCS Corporation but released a request for information to hear from other potential vendors capable of delivering on this contract.

Technologies like artificial intelligence “will eventually reduce the number of soldiers in harm’s way, however, they will not simply replace soldiers one-for-one,” the RFI states.

AI will augment humans on the battlefield with greater capacity to store and analyze data; access areas humans can’t; react at speeds humans can’t; and be deployed in greater numbers.

“However, AI technologies will also introduce limitations and will not have the same set of capabilities that our soldiers have—e.g., adaptability, flexibility, common sense and other traits—necessary to always complete the mission,” according to the performance work statement.

Success in future operations will require soldiers to interact with multiple, advanced technologies at once. In turn, those technologies can help larger numbers of soldiers and teams coordinate their actions.

“More specifically, the tasks described here will support fundamental research in support of the Army’s goal to develop and field systems requiring soldiers to team with AI technologies by facilitating the exchange of information between the soldier, system, and environment,” officials wrote. “Development of AI technologies to support teams of soldiers and autonomy will change the way that team members, both human and autonomous, interact with the environment, the enemy, and with each other. AI technologies will be able to learn, not only how to interact with individuals and teams, but how to collaboratively make decisions and solve problems as part of teams, maximizing the strengths and minimizing the weaknesses of individual team members—human or autonomous.”

The Army Research Lab wants to study these interactions from both sides, and is establishing this contract to get technical and engineering support in developing training simulations and integrating those into existing regimens.

The performance work statement goes into detail on specific deliverables, including developing new test and evaluation methods for measuring the effectiveness of human-AI teams and integrating those with the Army’s Next Generation Combat Vehicle program. The program will also iterate on existing methods and develop new ways of mapping soldiers’ brain functions, psychology and behavior when interacting with AI teammates.

The ultimate contract will be indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity, off which Army programs will be able to issue task orders.

Responses to the RFI are due by 5 p.m. May 5.