The Pentagon’s first chief software officer, Nicolas Chaillan, has resigned in protest of the Department of Defense’s lack of effort to stay competitive in artificial intelligence. Chaillan maintains that the DoD’s failure to keep up with China is putting the U.S. at risk. He’s not the only one who has expressed concern. An open letter from the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence has also warned that the U.S. is not prepared to defend or compete in the AI area. Chaillan blamed sluggish innovation and the reluctance of U.S. companies, like Google, which refuses to work with the U.S. military on AI, for the problem. Google refuses to cooperate because of its concerns regarding the ethics of using AI for military purposes. Chinese companies on the other hand are obligated to work with their government. An article from Reuters continues (abridged):
Nicolas Chaillan, the Pentagon’s first chief software officer who resigned in protest against the slow pace of technological transformation in the U.S. military, said the failure to respond was putting the United States at risk.
“We have no competing fighting chance against China in 15 to 20 years. Right now, it’s already a done deal; it is already over in my opinion,” he told the newspaper. “Whether it takes a war or not is kind of anecdotal.”
Chinese companies, Chaillan said, were obliged to work with their government and were making “massive investment” in AI without regard to ethics.
He said U.S. cyber defences in some government departments were at “kindergarten level”.
Chaillan announced his resignation at the beginning of September, saying military officials were repeatedly put in charge of cyber initiatives for which they lacked experience.