The Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has unveiled some of the details of its "AI Next" artificial intelligence program to Nextgov.
"AI Next" is a $2 billion campaign to research and create new tools for artificial intelligence that exceed current capabilities in areas like common sense reasoning and human-like communication.
"The grand vision for the AI Next campaign is to take machines and move them from being tools — perhaps very valuable tools — but really to be trusted, collaborative partners," said Valerie Browning, the director of DARPA's Defense Sciences Office.
Browning identifies the biggest gap with modern AI and the advances DARPA hopes to achieve as "the fact that AI can fail in ways that humans wouldn't," such as not recognizing a picture that has a few minor changes a human would not notice.
"We need to be able to build AI systems that have that sort of common sense wired in," she added. "We need AI systems that do have some ability for introspection."
The agency's AI Exploration program helps fund a variety of different approaches to improving AI, which allows DARPA to "go after some of the more high-risk, uncertain spaces quickly to find out whether they're on the critical path toward reaching our ultimate vision."
Browning pointed to "the physics of AI," as one of the more promising areas to explore.
"I think we'll know soon whether there are some real clear applications," she said. "I would say within months, not years."