Understanding Artificial Intelligence

DIIG is currently conducting research focusing on building insight into the effects of artificial intelligence (AI) on national security in order to explore the nexus between AI’s national security involvement and its broader commercial applications

As part of this project, the research team has been hosting working roundtables to discuss critical topics in the AI space, including the conceptual framework for AI applications, national security investments in AI as they pertain to a competitive global environment, challenges for AI adoption, management of operational AI, and implications of international approaches. By promoting discussion about how AI plays into national defense and consulting others in the defense community about the issue, DIIG hopes to obtain a better perspective on the role of artificial intelligence in national security. Please check back on this page for more content over the next few months. DIIG will be releasing its full report at a public event here at CSIS on November 5, 2018. The report will be available to the public on this page.


Project made possible by generous support from Thales USA, Inc.

Photo: Thales USA

Defining the AI Ecosystem

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are all around, often in ways we do not immediately notice. AI technologies help users augment and amplify their current capabilities, supported by a complex network of humans and machine systems. To ensure AI is useful and effective in achieving our objectives, CSIS is studying the state of AI application, implications to national security and industry, the weaknesses of AI implementations, and the necessity of the growing AI ecosystem.

Building the AI Ecosystem for National Security

The advanced capabilities of AI depend on a complex supportive and technological system—an AI ecosystem. Successfully deploying AI extends far beyond algorithm development. Technology reliability and predictability, a foundational digital capability, a skilled workforce, and ethical policies and guidelines are all required. However, most public and private organizations are woefully underinvested in the supportive structures that AI depends on. This creates a debt that must be paid up-front to allow for successful AI adoption. Taking a strategic approach to AI means investing in the AI ecosystem to pay down debt, especially investments in the workforce, and spreading bets across the AI field.