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DARPA Wants to ‘Build AI Systems We Can Trust,’ Says Dr. Kathleen Fisher

Artificial intelligence has over the last 10 years yielded an influx of tools with vast and wide-ranging potential, according to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Dr. Kathleen Fisher, who runs the agency’s Information Innovation Office.

“This technology offers many promising new directions, such as automatically summarizing large amounts of information, finding and fixing bugs in software, which could dramatically reduce our digital attack surface, and advancing the pace of scientific discovery,” Fisher told GovCon Wire in an exclusive comment.

The DARPA official will deliver a keynote address at the Potomac Officers Club’s 5th Annual AI Summit on March 21. Held at the Falls Church Marriott Fairview Park in Virginia, the event brings together the best and brightest of the U.S. government’s technology and AI-specializing minds to engage with industry about how to best partner and create awe-inspiring autonomous systems. If you’re a government contractor and your work could be impacted by AI, it’s imperative you register for the event.

DARPA has involved itself in a number of recent AI-related initiatives. In Q3 2023, it announced a two-year AI Cyber Challenge, a rallying cry for private industry partnerships to create AI tech that can locate and remedy software vulnerabilities. The agency has announced it will award over $18 million over the course of the endeavor.

In January, the Pentagon research hub also issued a request for proposals calling for exploratory human-artificial intelligence teaming models. The RFP is part of DARPA’s “third wave” of AI investments and a function of its new AI Exploration research endeavor. Responses to the RFP are due by Feb. 2.

The AI activities at DARPA don’t stop there. Despite this aggressive embrace, however, Fisher shared that the agency is aware of the potential for pitfalls.

“Like all new technology, things will go wrong, but how wrong will depend on how much power such systems are given or how much power they can get on their own,” she reasoned, adding, “Our goal at DARPA is to explore how we can reliably build AI systems we can trust and not be foolish to do so.”

Dr. Fisher will go in-depth on the multi-layered use cases for AI, as well as enumerate the ways technicians should proceed with caution, at the Potomac Officers Club’s 5th Annual AI Summit on March 21st. Register now to save a seat, so you can ask Dr. Fisher or any of the other esteemed guests your burning questions.

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