General: Project Maven Is Just the Beginning of the Military’s Use of AI

ktsdesign/Shutterstock.com

Air Combat Command chief invites tech firms to help build next-gen tools for the Pentagon. Also says dissent "is part of being an American."

A top Air Force general said the military needs to expand its use of artificial intelligence — like being used in the controversial Project Maven effort — if it wants to stay ahead of peer competitors and deter war.

Gen. James Holmes, who leads Air Combat Command, is among the first flag officers to publicly defend the Pentagon’s algorithmic-image-analysis program since Google said it would not renew its contract following an outcry by its employees.

“The benefit of this will be: it will free up people to focus on thinking about what they see and what it means in the intelligence field and on passing that information to decision makers more timely because you’re able to do it faster,” Holmes said Thursday at a Defense Writers Group breakfast in Washington. “That’s a big part of our future and you’ll continue to see that expanded, with Project Maven being one of the first steps in bringing learning machines and algorithms in to be able to allow people to focus on things that people do best and let the machine do that repetitive task.”

Earlier this week, Robert Work, who chartered Project Maven before stepping down as deputy defense secretary last year, said that company employees who worry that the Pentagon’s artificial intelligence will kill people should should consider that it would increase risks for someone else.

“They say, ‘What if the work is ultimately used to take lives. But what if it saves American lives? 500 American lives? Or 500 lives of our allies?” Work said Tuesday at the Defense One Tech Summit.

Holmes said he was concerned that the dustup with Google might prompt others in Silicon Valley to not work with the Pentagon, but added: “this is part of being an American.”

“Americans have expectations about what their government does and whether the government uses technology and tools to infringe upon their rights or not,” he said. “We have really high standards as a nation that that things that we being forward as military tools have to live up to.”

Still, Holmes said the military needs to tap into the technology being developed in the Valley and elsewhere.

“The place where R&D money is being spent in the the United States is primarily in the civilian business structure,” he said. “For the military to be able to move forward into the future, we need to take advantage of where that R&D money is being spent and where the advances are in technology.

“If you look at where the money is in our current business structure, there’s a lot more money in the tech side than there is in the classic defense industrial complex,” Holmes continued. “The groundbreaking research going forward is in those tools in the business market, If we’re going to be effective in this battle of technology with adversaries, we hope to be able to take advantage of that.”

Holmes also made the case that technology could deter war.

“I’d make the case that our job is to compete with these world-class peer competitors that we have,” he said. “By competing and by setting this competition on terms that we can compete without going to conflict is better for everybody. What I’d like to do is be able to convince people that we’re all in the business of avoiding major war. That’s what we’re trying to do. We’re going to have to rely on our industrial capabilities that are on that business.”

Asked by a reporter if Project Maven Is this the first step toward Skynet, a fictional artificial network in the Terminator movies, Holmes said: “I certainly hope not.”

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.