Pentagon pledges $2 billion for AI research


WASHINGTON DC, USA - APRIL 13: US flag and Pentagon logo are seen before the press conference of U.S. Defense Secretary Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Dunford on Syria at the Pentagon in Washington, United States on April 13, 2018. (Photo by Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The US Department of Defense will put up to $2 billion towards artificial intelligence research over the next five years, the Washington Post reports. Steven Walker, director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), announced the plan today at a symposium outside of Washington, DC. He said the agency wants to look into “how machines can acquire human-like communication and reasoning capabilities” and will fund dozens of new research projects going forward.

“This is a massive deal. It’s the first indication that the United States is addressing advanced AI technology with the scale and funding and seriousness that the issue demands,” Gregory Allen, an adjunct fellow with the think tank the Center for a New American Security, told the Washington Post. “We’ve seen China willing to devote billions to this issue, and this is the first time the US has done the same.”

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