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DARPA’s Timothy Grayson Talks Monolith Busting in Keynote Address at Potomac Officers Club’s AI Event

On Tuesday, the Potomac Officers Club hosted its third Data-Driven 2021 Series event, The Cost of AI, during which eminent government agency and industry leaders joined together to discuss the budgetary implications, potential disruption scenarios, opportunities and challenges inherent in integrating innovative artificial intelligence solutions as organizations strive to maintain a competitive advantage over U.S. adversaries during a critical age of rapid technological advancements.

Dr. Timothy Grayson, director of the strategic technology office for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, served as the event’s opening keynote speaker and delivered a timely address focused on how defense agencies can build a more resilient, connected “system of systems” through adopting a less centralized approach and leveraging private sector partnerships.

Following an introduction by Josh Wilson, senior vice president of service lines and technology for LMI, Dr. Grayson addressed the virtual audience and began his keynote speech with an adept demystification of the advanced, complex technology of artificial intelligence with the simple yet effective statement, “AI is just software.”

If you missed today’s Data-Driven 2021 Series event, visit PotomacOfficersClub.com to watch The Cost of AI and other GovCon sector webinars on-demand.

The central theme of Dr. Grayson’s insightful keynote was that AI is not a static object or a singular idea, but rather a toolbox of diverse, customizable approaches that organizations can utilize to achieve a wide range of software-based capabilities tailored to their specific needs.

“The first big challenge that we have to get our heads around is that AI is not a thing,” Dr. Grayson posited. “We should stop thinking about AI as a widget or a self-contained capability. AI is more the process of getting to a capability.”

To provide an example of how DARPA is leveraging AI, Dr. Grayson explained the agency’s Mosaic Warfare approach, which favors a disparate, yet highly connected infrastructure strategy over a tightly integrated, centralized platform to allow for a higher degree of flexibility, resilience and optionality.

Dr. Grayson aptly referred to this concept as “monolith busting.”

He explained this approach with a metaphor and said, “Instead of being a jigsaw puzzle that only fits together in one particular way, you can have these loosely interoperable tiles that can be composed for whatever the particular need at the time is.”

Artificial intelligence, Dr. Grayson said, can transform warfighter capabilities in the multi-domain battlespace, and his work at DARPA now focuses on complementing AI’s diversity and optionality with the added, essential component of speed.

“By bringing in that speed dimension to all of this, we really want to make the creation of these digitally-driven, information-driven architectures very composable to what the warfighter needs now,” Dr. Grayson said.

To hear Dr. Grayson’s full keynote address, including the innovative private sector technologies currently influencing government agencies, please visit PotomacOfficersClub.com, where you can view The Cost of AI and other Data-Driven 2021 Series events.

On Wednesday, Dec. 15th, the Potomac Officers Club will host its AF IT Modernization and Digital Transformation Forum, which will gather renowned U.S. Air Force and industry leaders to explore how zero trust, artificial intelligence and other innovative technologies and approaches can help advance the Department of Defense’s transformational JADC2 vision and meet the evolving demands of today’s warfighters.

The Department of the Air Force’s Deputy CIO, Winston Beauchamp, will deliver the forum’s keynote address, during which he will share the strategic priorities and initiatives the Air Force is employing to modernize its legacy infrastructures and build an agile, tech-enabled military force prepared for the future of battle.

Please visit PotomacOfficersClub.com to register for the AF IT Modernization and Digital Transformation Forum on Dec. 15th.

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