The Department of Defence is seeking to fund research into the interaction between humans and artificial intelligence (AI) systems, with an eye to better integrating AI into decision making by military analysts and commanders.
The Defence Science and Technology Group (DST) has begun formally seeking proposals from universities and industry for research focused on the how AI systems and humans can work together.
AI can be used to analyse vast amounts of data and quickly recognise patterns, the DST request for proposals states. However, as “the complexity of AI increases, it is imperative to design these systems to collaborate with humans as a member of the team, as opposed to undertaking discrete activities in isolation as is the case with much automation today,” the document adds.
“To do this, we can’t leave the design of the user interface and an understanding of the context of the task – including emergent capabilities from multiple interacting systems - until the end, but we must design the AI for human collaboration from the start
AI and machine learning have the potential “to process and categorise large amounts of data, but for this to be effectively utilised by decision makers it is essential that the right information is provided to them in the right way at the right time,” states the call for proposals. “Furthermore, as AI evolves to increasingly contextualise information, this may enable its use in collaborative decision-making.”
Defence is particularly interested in research covering three sub-themes: Designing AI systems to collaborate with humans in “high risk, time critical environments”, the design of “exploratory AI systems for interactive sensemaking” (particularly “human comprehension of emerging situations derived from AI assessment of the situation”), and the design of distributed human and AI teams.
The funding on offer would be drawn from Defence’s research-focused Next Generation Technologies Fund. Integrated Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) is one of the “priority themes” of the Next Gen Tech Fund.
Defence is seeking proposals for research plans of up to two and a half years. On offer is up to $100,000 for the first six months of a research initiative, and up to $500,000 in subsequent years. An initial contract will last six months, with options for two 12-month extensions.
Earlier this year DST hosted a Canberra summit to create a roadmap for the ethical use of AI systems. The event brought together Defence personnel, researchers, and legal experts, and was attended by representatives of arms manufacturers including BAE Systems and Thales.
Defence is expecting to next year incorporate a “clear position” on ethical use of AI into Australia’s military doctrine.
The federal government announced earlier this month that NAB, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Telstra, Microsoft and Flamingo AI would ‘trial’ a series of ethical principles related to the use of AI that were developed by the CSIRO’s Data61.