The Pentagon announced on Friday that the military’s research arm will invest $2 billion in a five-year plan centered around artificial intelligence (AI) research.

The campaign, titled “AI Next,” will be “aimed at transforming computers from specialized tools to partners in problem-solving,” said Dr. Steven Walker, director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

“We want to explore how machines can acquire human-like communication and reasoning capabilities, with the ability to recognize new situations and environments and adapt to them.”

AI Next is not the first research initiative for DARPA, as the defense agency currently has about 20 ongoing AI research projects.

“This is a massive deal. It’s the first indication that the United States is addressing advanced AI technology with the scale and funding and seriousness that the issue demands,” said Gregory Allen, member of the Center for a New American Security. “We’ve seen China willing to devote billions to this issue, and this is the first time the U.S. has done the same.”

For more trends in robotics and artificial intelligence, visit the Robotics & AI Channel.

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