CNAS EVP Paul Scharre on Large Language Models, Other Emerging AI Tech

Top officials at the Department of Defense met with technology industry leaders at a four-day symposium that kicked off Tuesday in Washington to talk about the potential military applications of LLMs or large language models and other emerging artificial intelligence technologies, The Washington Post reported.

Paul Scharre, executive vice president at the Center for a New American Security, said the flexibility of LLMs to manage diverse tasks is one of the factors that has excited officials at the Pentagon.

“Most AI systems have been narrow AI,” Scharre, a former DOD official, said at the symposium. “They are able to do one task right. AlphaGo was able to play Go. Facial recognition systems could recognize faces. But that’s all they can do. Whereas language seems to be this bridge toward more general-purpose abilities.”

Scharre also noted that AI models of China are about 18 to 24 months behind U.S.-built AI systems.

“U.S. technology sanctions are top of mind for them,” he said. “They’re very eager to find ways to reduce some of these tensions between the U.S. and China, and remove some of these restrictions on U.S. technology like chips going to China.”

Craig Martell, head of DOD’s Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office and a 2024 Wash100 awardee, talked at the event and highlighted the role of industry in helping DOD develop its AI models.

U.S. Navy Capt. M. Xavier Lugo, mission commander of CDAO’s Task Force Lima, Shannon Gallagher, a Carnegie Mellon researcher and Nathan VanHoudnos, another Carnegie Mellon scientist, joined Martell and Scharre at the symposium to discuss LLMs and other AI technologies.

POC - 5th Annual Artificial Intelligence Summit

Scharre will join a panel discussion at the Potomac Officers Club’s 5th Annual Artificial Intelligence Summit on March 21. Register to hear federal leaders and industry experts discuss the latest developments in the field. 

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