Is the US Navy using AI to prepare for the next conflict?


It’s no secret at this point that AI is taking over many industries fast, and it certainly has its positives and negatives. Some are concerned with how using this technology will impact jobs for humans, while others are thrilled to see how tasks will get done much more efficiently.

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One field that is using AI to its fullest capabilities is the U.S. Navy. Our military’s defense mechanisms have improved enormously in the 21st century; however, they have never used technology quite like this.

Many of our military’s weapons are already autonomous, such as automated deck guns that protect warships from incoming missiles, yet none of them have ever used artificial intelligence. That’s all going to change sooner rather than later.

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Photo of a Navy warship.

Artificial intelligence is being used by the U.S. Navy to automate weapons. (DVIDS)

The U.S. Navy’s advancements in AI technology

The Navy has been testing all kinds of AI technology to use as a means of protecting our country since the birth of Task Force 59 back in 2021, which is a specific team whose job is to integrate more AI-operated systems into the Navy. Since then, some major strides have been made. FOX Business reported back in April that the U.S. Navy was planning to begin using unmanned ships run by artificial intelligence to monitor smuggling operations along with illegal fishing by China.

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The Navy’s AI future: conversational robots and beyond

The global IT company General Dynamics Information Technology Inc. also announced in June 2023 that the Navy would begin using a conversational AI robot named Amelia, which has capabilities to troubleshoot and resolve commonly asked tech support questions from sailors, Marines, and civilian personnel. And the Navy plans to have even more successful operations like these up and running by 2025.

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The risks of AI integration in the Navy

When this technology becomes advanced enough, it will be able to be used for important tasks like search-and-rescue missions and more.

Money is also a major factor in this, as it is in most cases when introducing AI. Having these AI-operated systems in place will save the military money because once the systems are up and running properly, the systems can think and make decisions for themselves, meaning they won’t need a human to operate them.

This can also be seen as a negative, as any machine that can operate without the need for human intervention is quite alarming. And yet, the Navy seems to think that the positives of this technology outweigh the negatives.

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Warships out on the sea.

The Navy is weighing the risks of using AI. (DVIDS)

Fighting a war with AI 

The potential for AI warfare presents a critical concern that cannot be overlooked. As the United States military progresses in integrating AI into its defense mechanisms, it is inevitable that other powerful nations are pursuing similar AI-driven weapons. The implications of such technology falling into the wrong hands are deeply troubling, leading to grave consequences.

Furthermore, despite extensive testing, AI systems are not infallible. The mere presence of prior testing cannot guarantee their flawless performance. Considering the high-stakes scenarios our Navy faces, any malfunction in an AI system during a dangerous situation would be an alarming and unacceptable risk.”

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How the Navy is using AI to solve its most challenging problems 

We reached out to the Navy for a comment on the current and future applications of AI in that branch of the military. Here’s what a Navy spokesperson had to say: 

“The Department of the Navy is leveraging Artificial Intelligence to address some of its most challenging problems – such as recruitment, placement, workforce development, logistics, material management, and weather prediction. Our AI Task Forces are the connective fabric between our cyber headquarters and the fleet and represent the backbone of our federated AI approach. The benefits of AI applications include removing Sailors and Marines from harm’s way, enhancing operational and corporate efficiency, and are an important asymmetric capability on the digital battlespace of today and tomorrow.”

Kurt’s key takeaways

In pursuit of safeguarding our nation, our Navy and the entire military apparatus will undoubtedly prioritize measures they believe will ensure our safety. Currently, they are actively advancing AI technology as a means to bolster their capabilities.  AI being used in warfare is new and there remain many unanswered questions about what AI warfare would truly look like.

What are your feelings about introducing AI technology into our defense mechanisms? What kinds of consequences do you think this could lead to? Let us know by writing us at Cyberguy.com/Contact

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