Urging AI Advances: Senate Presses for Rapid Development of Neural Sensors in the Military

JJohn July 25, 2023 8:57 AM

The U.S. Senate is persuading the Pentagon to expedite the deployment of AI-based wearables equipped with neural sensors. These devices will track and relay data about soldiers' physical and psychological well-being to their commanders, a development that could revolutionize military decision-making and welfare of the forces.

Senate committee encourages AI sensor deployment

The Senate Armed Services Committee, in its latest defense policy bill, urged the Department of Defense to expedite the production and distribution of AI-driven wearable neural sensors. Both parties in the Senate see the potential of this technology in improving decision-making and soldiers’ welfare on the battlefield. The committee has advised the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering to increase funding for such technologies via the National Network for Microelectronics Research and Development.

AI-assisted decision-making in the military

The Pentagon elucidated how AI could leverage the data collected by these sensors to inform military decision-making. The wearable systems would gather real-time data from soldiers, providing insight into key performance predictors, such as fatigue, dehydration, nutritional status, heat stress, or possible exposure to harmful substances. This valuable data could then be assessed by AI to help commanders make informed decisions on the battlefield.

The Senate's push for AI technology adoption is coupled with its efforts to ensure system safety and effectiveness. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is advocating for more expert consultations before forwarding an AI bill. Simultaneously, President Biden announced that seven AI developers agreed to adhere to guidelines for creating secure, safe, and trustworthy AI systems.

Geopolitical competition accelerates AI deployment

With geopolitical competition in mind, there is significant pressure on U.S. lawmakers to expedite the deployment of these AI systems. Staying ahead of adversaries such as China is a key factor driving the urgency. For instance, the House-passed NDAA encourages the use of AI in the Navy's logistics plan, the Army's development of autonomous combat vehicles, and department-wide research into how AI can bolster national security.

The Army has already started exploring the potential of AI capabilities. They're testing wearable sensors on soldiers to transmit vital health data back to commanders in real-time. This includes initiatives to collect and utilize comprehensive data about the battlefield and soldiers using AI and machine learning. The incoming data could be used to reduce risk and injury, provide health monitoring and casualty care, and aid medics in injury identification, classification, and treatment.

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