DARPA’s plan for AI to understand the world

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The Department of Defense hopes to use artificial intelligence to better understand global events In an increasingly complex world.



A new DARPA program seeks to use AI to better understand and predict world events that could lead to chaos or unrest. (MOHAMMED AL-SHAIKH/AFP/Getty Images)


According to a new announcement from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is looking for proposals to develop a semi-automated system that can identify and draw correlations between seemingly unrelated events to help create broad narratives about the world.


Here’s how DARPA is thinking about the problem: an event is a recognizable and significant change in either the natural world or human society. So-called “events of interest” can either create changes that have significant impact on national security, the notice stated.


DARPA’s program, called Knowledge-directed Artificial Intelligence Reasoning Over Schemas, or KAIROS, will use something called schema-based AI to better comprehend events around the world, specifically helping uncover complex events found in multimedia information and bring them to the attention of system users.


Schemas are units of knowledge that humans reference to make sense of events by organizing them into commonly occurring narrative structures, DARPA said. DARPA wants to create a schema-based AI that can “enable contextual and temporal reasoning about complex real-world events in order to generate actionable understanding of these events and predict how they will unfold.”


The program will be broken into four technical areas. DARPA said it anticipates multiple awards for the first two technical areas and single awards for the third and fourth technical areas.