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Dstl to run AI Lab for defence


New initiative launched by Ministry of Defence to focus on artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has announced the creation of a new artificial intelligence hub for the sector.

Named the AI Lab, it will be based at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) – an executive agency of the Ministry of Defence – in Porton Down and focus on building the UK’s capability in artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science for defence.

Dstl currently delivers more than £20 million of research related to AI and this is forecast to grow significantly.

The areas for research will include autonomous vehicles, countering fake news and the development of enhanced computer network defences.

Williamson announced the initiative at the first meeting of the joint UK-UK Defence Innovation Board, which is aimed at exploring areas of cooperation between the two countries.

Harness technologies

He said: “The relationship we have with our American partners is indispensable to both our nations. In the face of evolving global threats, we must harness new technologies and approaches to stay ahead of our adversaries and keep us safe.

“Today’s meeting of military and scientific minds from both sides of the Atlantic encourages our best and brightest to develop new capabilities in everything from artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles to advanced cyber and robotics.”

The UK arm of the board has highlighted a need to expand capabilities in cyber defence and data and information systems, modernise procurement processes and develop an innovative culture in the field.

The news comes three months after Dstl announced it has been working with the Alan Turing Institute on the use of machine learning to support cyber security. The project has been part of the two organisations’ work in a Data Study Group as part of a regular series of events run by the institute.

Image by Nick Amoscato, CC BY 2.0 through flickr

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