Nand Mulchandani, chief technology officer of the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) within the Department of Defense (DoD), emphasized the need for trust in AI as a major part of the department’s deployment strategy.
Speaking at the Politico AI Summit on October 15, Mulchandani noted that AI is still in its early stages, and that its applications are currently limited, especially for DoD.
“It is absolutely the case that right now, AI is brittle and very early-stage technology,” he said. “When you see the stuff that is actually out there – ad tech, personalization, recommendation engines – those are cognitive assistants that help people shop better or get better entertainment, but not many of those systems have been deployed on weapons systems. We actually don’t have any of them deployed.”
Mulchadani emphasized that one of the reasons that AI systems haven’t been deployed in further areas is the need for trust in the government’s ethical use of the technology.
“Explainability, testing, trust, and ethics – these are all highly connected pieces … which is why at DoD, and I think governmentwide, we’ve taken a very stringent approach to putting together the ethics principles and frameworks,” he said.
Mulchandani also emphasized the importance of working with allies, especially in the context of the global AI competition between the U.S. and China.
“The militaries, governments, and countries that get the best datasets will develop the best AI – there’s no question about it,” he said. “In things like facial recognition, where [China] is building a police state with these systems, the data advantage that they have is on Chinese citizens … The ability for us to have to access to global datasets with partners gives us a natural advantage when it comes to building these systems at scale.”
JAIC’s AI Partnership for Defense effort, launched earlier this year, received some spotlight for building on these international partnerships to set common ethical grounds for AI development among U.S. Allies.
“Thirteen different countries are getting together to actually build these principles because we actually do need to build a lot of confidence in this,” Mulchadani noted.