National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) recently released declassified documents, unveiling an AI program known as Sentient.
What is Sentient?
Think of Sentient as a man-made brain. Sentient is a top-secret military AI system that American Intelligence agencies have been developing since 2010.
The NRO document released regarding Sentient cites four core functions:
- Data ingest and processing: To determine what information is available in the context of the situation at hand.
- Sense-making: To make sense of the data at hand and to determine what additional information is needed.
- Orchestrated collection: To identify the best coordinated collection to fill knowledge gaps.
- Framework and human/machine interface: To know how the architecture interacts with humans
How can Sentient impact our society?
Not much is truly revealed about the inner workings of Sentient just yet. What is known is that huge volumes of data are being used to develop Sentient so that it could perform the stated core functions.
The NRO document indicates that Sentient will allow an automated tasking and collection of data. It also mentions the use of machine learning to build intelligence.
With Sentient doing these tasks, NRO hopes that analysts will be able to focus more on understanding the situation at hand instead of collecting and looking for data.
The NRO document also states that Sentient harnesses observed events and historical data to model and anticipate possible courses of action of “adversaries.” As to what these “adversaries” are exactly, the answer remains hidden.
Who or what Sentient monitors and how it will exactly work are things that we still don’t know for now. Eventually, Sentient might be released and we might not even be aware of it.
With Sentient out in the open though, we see how the limits of AI continues to be challenged and redefined.
Given this rapid development, the evaluation of how the gradual integration of AI — its advantages and potential threats it may pose — appears to be a matter that must be attended to sooner than we think.