AI, Machine Learning a DHS Community of Interest

Friday, October 12, 2018 @ 05:10 PM gHale

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are two trends that are growing in impact on aspects of daily life, powering technologies that benefit health, finance, safety, and recreation.

These technologies further a bridge between the cyber and material worlds like never before, bringing a new class of solutions for improving homeland security operations.

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AI can help responders and law enforcement prioritize large amounts of data from a variety of different places to expedite decision making.

“Eventually data becomes so large, no person can understand it or use it effectively,” said Dr. Patrick Carrick, chief scientist at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T). “It takes automated techniques to do that.”

That is why Carrick created a Community of Interest (COI) for anyone in DHS with an interest in the subject.

DHS operational components are widely represented in the community given the relevance to the homeland security mission. As it turned out, attendance for the kickoff meeting was outstanding. Hundreds of people attended, online and in person, which goes to show the opportunities – and threats – associated with AI and ML.

After visiting a symposium on AI and Quantum Computing last year, Carrick was inspired to form the COI and concluded the department needed a cohesive discussion around the topic.

“It seemed like there was increased opportunity to further leverage AI/ML for S&T and the Department given our needs to analyze vast datasets,” he said.

His goal for the AI/ML community is to understand what the department is trying to do with it, where the impacts are, and how many people are interested.

Carrick and his team initially developed a list of about 40 people in the department they believed had interest in these topics. When they reached out, they were met with resounding affirmation. This began the conversation that led to the first in-person meeting of AI/ML interests DHS-wide.

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