Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

Use of AI in defence forces a key challenge: Sitharaman

ANI | Updated: May 21, 2018 13:44 IST

New Delhi [India], May 21 (ANI): Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday said one of the key challenges facing the country's defence forces is how to apply and use Artifical Intelligence (AI), at a time when there is a lack of infrastructure to support it.
Addressing a stakeholders' workshop on 'Artificial Intelligence in National Security and Defence', Sitharaman said, "The task force should be able to tell us where the defence forces are today, such as bridging with the private sector. The task force should be able to tell us what is it that will encourage yet regulate the use of the AI in defence forces. The challenges identified is the lack of infrastructure to enable the use of AI. I would place cyber, nuclear and space high on this agenda."
The workshop aims to explore different avenues to include AI in defence forces to boost the latter's efficiency and operational preparedness.
Dr. S Christopher, Chairman of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) also spoke in favour of equipping the defence forces of the country with AI.
"It is useful because of the mind-boggling data that comes in. It is not humanly possible to churn it and get useful information out of it," he said.
Defence Secretary (Production) in the Ministry of Defence, Dr. Ajay Kumar said the use of AI would add more teeth to the country's military setup.
"China in 2017 came out with its roadmap defining that by 2030 they should be the leading Artificial Intelligence (AI) power in the world. For the first time, all stakeholders, defence forces, the information technology (IT) industry, startups, academia, defence public sector undertakings (PSUs) will define the roadmap. AI is going to be a part of all the military strategic in the future. The man can get tired and bored. Machines will not get tired and bored. Machines can sustain in advanced and dangerous situations. All these advantages are creating a situation where we are going to increasingly see AI in our country's defence setup."
On Sunday, Kumar told ANI that a task force has been set up under the chairmanship of Tata Sons chairman N. Chandrasekaran to finalise the specifics and framework of the AI project.
"Artificial Intelligence is going to influence everything in the future, our common lives also including it also going to affect the future warfare. Most of the major countries in the world are taking steps to ensure that their defence systems are fully empowered by the use of Artificial Intelligence. In India, we have also taken steps in this direction," he said.
The project to equip defence forces with Artificial Intelligence, includes the representation from all defence forces or DRDO labs, government, BEL, experts, professionals and startups.
Kumar further said that India has a fairly strong IT industry base which will become the biggest strength in terms of developing Artificial Intelligence capabilities.
"We need to work on a partnership model between industries and defence forces which should be different from a buyer-seller proposition," he added.
Artificial Intelligence, which along with robotics, internet and machine learning has been billed as the dawn of the fourth industrial revolution, is a system of computers or machines that have the ability to mirror human intelligence. This means they can learn, reason and do the self-correction on its own. (ANI)

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