The U.S. Army's Ultimate Weapon Isn't a New Gun or Tank

Kris Osborn

(Washington, D.C.) Envision a scenario wherein dismounted infantry soldiers are taking heavy enemy fire while clearing buildings amid intense urban combat -- when an overhead drone detects small groups of enemy fighters hidden nearby, between walls, preparing to ambush. As the armed soldier's clear rooms and transition from house to house in a firefight, how quickly would they need to know that groups of enemies awaited them around the next corner?

Getting this information to soldiers in seconds can not only decide victory or defeat in a given battle but save lives. What if AI-enabled computer programs were able to instantly discern specifics regarding the threat such as location, weapons and affiliation by performing real-time analytics on drone feeds and other fast-moving sources of information, instantly sending crucial data to soldiers in combat?

While current technology can today perform some of these functions, what if this data was provided to individual dismounted soldiers in a matter of seconds? And instantly networked? Operating in a matter of milliseconds, AI-empowered computer algorithms could bounce new information off vast databases of previously compiled data to make these distinctions--instantly informing soldiers caught in the crossfire.

“The use of autonomy will assist in assimilating data from these various systems and quickly provide useful options to command decision-makers including individual Soldiers. Over time, more and more new intelligent technologies will be introduced,” Dr. J. Corde Lane, Director of the Human Research and Engineering Directorate, CCDC-Army Research Laboratory, told Warrior in a written statement.

Much of this work centered upon near and far-term applications of AI is being done by the ARL's Cognition and Neuroergonomics Collaborative Technology Alliance. Army scientists and many of its industry partners rest the entirely of this conceptual approach upon a key premise -- that AI and autonomy are intended to massively improve the soldier decision-making process and not displace the crucial and much need faculties unique to human cognition. The idea is to have AI-enabled technical systems perform instant procedural functions able to instantly inform humans operating in a role of command and control.

Read the original article.