In 2017, an A.I. bot called Libratus, made headlines as it managed to beat some of the most accomplished poker players in the world in a game of no-limit Texas hold'em. Recently, the A.I. bot is making headlines again as it had been signed-up and the team that manages it to work for the military.
Although the exact type of work the A.I. bot will be doing, public records show, "Libratus" and its creators from Carnegie Melon University will be working as support for the US Army's. The deal is $10 million for two years.
The development of artificial intelligence has been one of the main focuses of highly technological companies in recent years. The US Department of Defense wants to develop an A.I. that will help and advance their military advantage. For this reason, in June of 2018, they created the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC), and its main focus is to speed up "the delivery of AI-enabled capabilities, scaling the Department-wide impact of AI and synchronizing DoD AI activities to expand Joint Force advantages".
One of the most advance A.I. programs in recent years is Libratus as it earned a good sum of money in defeating professional poker players. Basically, the A.I. was created to test ideas for automated decision making based on game theory. The programming built into Libratus is versatile and can be adapted into a variety of military applications, including war games and military simulations which can then be used to explore military strategy and planning.
Exploring artificial intelligence is not new for the military. However, the ability to strategize based on A.I. simulations can help in given them the edge, especially since not all opponents will play by a predictable strategy.
The Pentagon is pushing for a broader use of A.I. In 2017, former US defense secretary James Mattis even said that his department was lagging behind tech companies in the adoption of technologies like machine learning. On that year, the Pentagon started Project Maven which aims to use commercially available AI techniques along with machine learning through the help of small and large companies that are advanced in the realm of A.I.
Aside from the U.S., other countries have been exploring A.I. and its potential military use. China is currently one of the forerunners in adapting A.I. for military purposes.