DARPA's "AI NEXT" Campaign

At DARPA’s D60 Symposium, agency director, Dr. Steven Walker announced a multi-year investment of more than $2 billion to support new and existing programs through the AI Next campaign. DARPA sees this next generation of AI as a third wave of technological advancement; one of contextual adaptation. Specifically, DARPA envisions a future in which machines will function more as colleagues than as tools.

Under AI Next, researchers will explore certain key areas like; automating critical DOD business processes, such as security clearance vetting in a week or accrediting software systems in one day for operational deployment; improving the robustness and reliability of AI systems; enhancing the security and resiliency of machine learning and AI technologies; reducing power, data, and performance inefficiencies; and pioneering the next generation of AI algorithms and applications, such as “explainability” and commonsense reasoning.

A key component of the AI Next campaign will be DARPA’s Artificial Intelligence Exploration (AIE) program, first announced in July 2018. AIE constitutes a series of high-risk, high payoff projects where researchers will work to establish the feasibility of new AI concepts within 18 months of award. Leveraging streamlined contracting procedures and funding mechanisms will enable these efforts to move from proposal to project kick-off within three months of an opportunity announcement. DARPA will use funding from the AI Next campaign to further the AIE program.

Learn more about the 20 existing programs supported by DARPA in this McAllister and Quinn White Paper.