DARPA Wants AI Program to Crunch Data for Commanders

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, has issued a multi-year contract with Aptima Inc. and its partner Arizona State University to develop a new generation of artificial intelligence that works with, learns from and interacts with humans, according to an Aug. 17 news release. Different from current commercial […]

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, has issued a multi-year contract with Aptima Inc. and its partner Arizona State University to develop a new generation of artificial intelligence that works with, learns from and interacts with humans, according to an Aug. 17 news release.

Different from current commercial systems, the program — Adaptive Distributed Allocation of Probabilistic Tasks (ADAPT) — will assist commanders with decision-making by quickly crunching data in fast-changing battlespaces and improving cooperation between human and AI agents.

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“ADAPT will take a significant step forward in human-AI collaboration so warfighters and intelligent technology can reason and work together to make better, faster decisions than either could do on their own,” Dr. Adam Fouse, Aptima’s ADAPT program manager, said in a statement. “By learning from its human counterparts, taking into account their goals, preferences and constraints, these more informed agents can guide AI in forecasting, creating and adapting action plans as missions evolve.”

In a search-and-rescue scenario, for example, these advanced AI models and agents will think through millions of possible scenarios for commanders to choose the best plan, minimizing casualties and risks.

“Humans excel at learning from one another but can only process so much incoming information. AI, on the other hand, has incredible computational abilities but needs to learn from and communicate with humans in order to be used effectively in dynamic team situations,” Fouse explained. “These combined attributes will elevate a commander’s expertise and decision-making in fast-changing, information-intensive environments so they can respond, and adapt quickly, while considering future possibilities.”

ADAPT will collect and analyze huge influxes of data for humans, optimize strategy and reallocate assets on the fly, according to the release. It is linked to two other DARPA programs: Agile Teams (A-Teams), which is also under the contract with Aptima, and Artificial Social Intelligence for Successful Teams (ASIST), where Aptima is priming the evaluation effort.

— Bing Xiao can be reached at [email protected]

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