The Pentagon’s top research arm is sponsoring development of a first-of-its-kind software that can model the events that contribute to conflicts around the world, and, if not quite predict the future, at least offer a timely heads-up on what might happen next.

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The possibilities of quantum computing have been floating on the horizon for a while now, at least since renowned physicist Richard Feynman dreamed up the idea in 1982. But like the horizon itself (at least in a world that isn’t flat), it always seems to recede despite all efforts to close in on it. Until now.






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The White House’s planned advisory committee on artificial intelligence may or may not help keep the country at the forefront of technological innovation, but it is another sign that the government is getting more serious about the importance of AI and the potential threats of falling behind in the “AI arms race.”






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The Pentagon’s vision of future warfare involves teams of small autonomous and semi-autonomous unmanned vehicles–in the air, on the ground, and in the water–operating in coordinated swarms to support troops on the battlefield.






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The $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill signed by President Trump on Friday gives a sizable boost to the Department of Defense, including a respectable 2.4 percent pay raise for DoD personnel, and for now at least gets Pentagon leaders off the frustrating, and at times wasteful, treadmill of continuing resolutions. And, while the bill doesn’t get into specifics about critical efforts such as cyber operations and artificial intelligence, it does continue programs DoD has underway.






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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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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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Creating some kind of an Internet of Things (IoT) beneath the ocean would be a daunting task, because the ocean tends to not cooperate. It’s vast, constantly in motion, and filled with water that’s not exactly friendly to communication as we know it. It can be tough to put hardware in place that’s up to the task of tracking activity in the waters around them. As a result, an adversary can often operate “under the radar,” so to speak, moving about underwater without detection.






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