Machine learning innovation is kicking into high gear. Investment in this field and data science increased 9.3 percent in 2016 to $2.4 billion, according to Gartner. On top of that, the Federal government is increasing its focus on machine learning, with the MGT Act, Technology Modernization Fund, and the President’s Management Agenda all supporting transformation efforts. […]

The Pentagon is a very large building that houses a lot of the authorities for the U.S. Military. It's big. This photo doesn't do it justice, but they're kinda rightly concerned about people flying drones around there.

The Government Accountability Office–GAO–recently released a report on an artificial intelligence forum it held in Washington, D.C. last summer. It shows that government’s thinking about the ups and downs of thinking machines. Two highlights to make you think. 






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Scientists at the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) are covering some new ground in artificial intelligence (AI) by connecting a machine with human intelligence via a neural connection. Not to worry: the research team isn’t cooking up an AI system that will run the show inside a person’s head. But it does have promise for both medical as well as deep machine learning systems uses, potentially in military and everyday applications.






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The tactics of warfare aren’t what they used to be. In addition to asymmetric battlefield tactics that differ from conventional battles, they also can include cyber, social, economic, and psychological strategies that don’t necessarily involve physical combat or destruction–or even direct human involvement–and can’t be divined by tracking troop movements or fleet deployments. As a result, the signs of impending war aren’t what they used to be either.






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Artificial intelligence (AI) deployments in the Federal government are already making government smarter, based on examples shared during the second of a three-part series on AI launched last month by the House Subcommittee on Information Technology. Federal agency leaders from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the General Services Administration (GSA), National Science Foundation (NSF), and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) discussed how AI is being implemented to improve the mission of their agencies and what is required to ensure the technology continues to be viewed as a problem solver.






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Like King Louie in the Jungle Book–Artificial Intelligence has to learn like people. Machine learning’s surely a brilliant student, but it’s still a slow learner. Once trained to recognize patterns, analyze huge amount of data, or interpret speech, they can do the job at lightning speed, often better than humans can. But the training part of that equation can be a labor and programming-intensive task, because machines still learn like machines–one thing at a time, often only after repeated instruction.






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Not all bots are bad. But in the wrong hands, botnets can be commanded to do some very nefarious things, like Distributed Denial of Service–DDoS–attacks to disrupt and bring down websites. There are also malware-based bots that are increasingly being used to steal data and personal information.






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Last month the Congressional Subcommittee on Information Technology began a three-part series of hearings to break through the myths and the hype to gain a real understanding of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the role it can play in the Federal government.






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Pentagon and allied leaders agree that future conflicts will likely take the shape of a “hyperwar” –a fast-paced clash guided via cyberspace and accelerated by artificial intelligence, but with real, even possibly nuclear, consequences. NATO’s most recent risk report, the GLOBSEC NATO Adaptation Initiative, states that the next world war could come as a hyperwar, and says North Korea, China, and Russia are working on the capability. Speakers on a panel at this month’s AFCEA West 2018 conference in San Diego agreed, emphasizing that the United States needs to keep up with technological developments being adopted by other countries, particularly with regard to artificial intelligence (AI).






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Artificial intelligence has been applied to everything from cybersecurity and financial management to human resources and self-driving cars, so it seemed only a matter of time before it could take over video surveillance duties. And while AI, machine learning, and neural networks have made some promising strides in this area, it’s not quite the slam dunk that it might seem.






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Artificial intelligence is sexy–no doubt about it. From self-driving cars to personal assistant technology that can anticipate your every need, the future of AI looks promising. However, the actual technology can be confusing. And rarely does the reality of AI match up to expectations created by Hollywood portrayals.






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Pentagon leaders say they’re serious about getting ahead in the artificial intelligence (AI) game, which increasingly could include the “games” involved in the modeling and simulation programs used for training.






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The Air Force wants to take the idea of a virtual assistant to the next level, with a system that not only draws from existing information to answer questions, but puts some additional thought into helping airmen make better decisions. This is accomplished by quizzing them about what, precisely, they plan to do.






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The General Services Administration’s (GSA) Emerging Citizen Technology Office (ECTO) is working with a network of partners from more than 300 Federal, state, and local government entities to help evaluate, test, and implement IT modernization initiatives with emerging technologies.






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Last year brought a great deal of change to Washington, D.C., from a new administration moving into the White House to D.C. United building a new stadium. As 2018 starts up with seemingly limitless IT opportunities ahead, MeriTalk takes a look back on the top Federal IT stories from 2017.






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With the Internet for transportation, a lie can get all the way around the world before truth can blink itself awake. And that’s a challenge for those who seek to stem the proliferation of false information, be it accidentally misattributed quotes, political propaganda, or malicious “fake news.” Artificial intelligence can help combat the problem, by using machine learning algorithms to detect the patterns used in phony stories and ads designed to stir up fear or outrage, or, in the case of Russian disinformation, unsettle people’s faith in American institutions.






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When it comes to Artificial Intelligence (AI) regulations, should the government focus on protecting the rights of its citizens or position the United States as a global leader on the technology? This was the central question during the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet’s Dec. 12 hearing.






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