The Convergence - An Army Mad Scientist Podcast

4. The Language of AI with Michael Kanaan

The Convergence - An Army Mad Scientist Podcast
4. The Language of AI with Michael Kanaan
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In this episode, we talk with Michael Kanaan, Director of Operations for U.S. Air Force and MIT Artificial Intelligence. Following his graduation from the U.S. Air Force Academy he was the Officer in Charge of a $75 million hyperspectral mission at the National Air and Space Intelligence Center, and then the Assistant Director of Operations for the 417-member Geospatial Intelligence Squadron. Prior to his current role, Michael was the National Intelligence Community Information Technology Enterprise Lead for an 1,800-member enterprise responsible for data discovery, intelligence analysis, and targeting development against ISIS, and most recently the Co-Chair of Artificial Intelligence for the U.S. Air Force.

In this episode, we’ll discuss the impact of AI on the armed forces, how we identify and cultivate talent, and the challenges that arise.

Highlights from the conversation:

AI is multidisciplinary. I’m not a computer scientist. The barriers to education have never been lower. You can teach yourself these kinds of things. And it’s what you do with AI that’s the real question. But make no mistake, I think the future rock stars in the AI sphere are most certainly sociologists and psychologists.

Why don’t we treat programming languages as the equivalence to as the equivalent to foreign language aptitude and proficiency? We have a long history of doing this in the DoD. In fact if you bring that skillset into the DoD, we cherish it, we try to cultivate it the best we can. Well, why aren’t we doing that with computer languages?

We need to team the techniques of the old with the ideas of the new. Experience is not dictated by age any longer. You can’t fall back and say, ‘well because I’ve done this for so long, I know about AI.’

It’s not supervising. We want to do this all transparently, very openly. So we published the Air Force AI strategy unclassified. So why we did it in principles was it’s not supervision. It’s not telling you how to get there, it’s providing and environment to get there. That’s the kind of flip in the digital age.


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