With the ever-increasing threats on global security, Avi Ben Ezra spends a great deal of time researching and understanding chatbots and AI and how it can be effectively used as military resources. Recently, he provided some insight on the matter by answering some interview questions.
What is happening in militaries around the world?
Ben Ezra has looked at the US for a study example. He found that military forces such as the US military mostly have both the resources and the budgets to invest very heavily in artificial intelligence and how it can be used to accomplish a whole range of critical things better and more efficiently. At the same time, they are keeping their human resources out of harm’s way.
“Just consider for a moment the needs of the US military. It takes a considerable amount of planning and logistics to maintain a military force in excess of 1.2 million. Likewise, the resources which are used in the recruiting of new soldiers are considerable. It requires thousands of man-hours every year to ensure that the quotas of the US military are satisfied. Recruitment officers have to speak to thousands of young men and women every year who may be interested to join the US military. This is why the US military is employing a large number of recruitment personnel and obviously, this is a very expensive process.”
He says that this is exactly why the US military recruitment office is now making use of a chatbot by the name of Sgt. Star. This artificial entity has never served in any military campaigns and it isn’t even a real person or has ever won any military medals … but Sgt. Star may very well be one of the most recognizable soldiers currently serving in the US military. Sgt. Star is serving the purpose for which it was designed and that is to gather a very large amount of personal data from prospective recruit soldiers.
What is happening to all of that collected data?
An organization known as Electronic Frontier Foundation which is a well-known civil liberties organization was sufficiently concerned about how all that collected data is utilized. This has resulted in an extensive background check on Sgt. Star. The conclusion was that Sgt. Star seems to be sufficiently harmless. However, the whole concept behind this level of data collection creates sufficient concern into how many other government organizations may use similar technologies for a wide variety of invasive purposes. Ben Ezra fully understands how the extraordinary potential of artificial intelligence and chatbots can provide not only companies but also military forces with a whole range of interesting possibilities.
He says: “The reality is that we are living in dangerous times. Just look at how some people are now making use of drones to terrorize large airports. These devices are fully capable to do a tremendous amount of damage when they are used by terrorists”.
Nevertheless, after 9/11 the US Army has seen an increase of 40% per year in traffic to the many chat rooms which can be found on its website. Those services were very costly to maintain requiring an annual investment of $4 million.
What are some of the main objectives of artificial intelligence implementation?
Ben Ezra doesn’t even have to think about that one to come up with an answer: “One of the primary benefits of artificial intelligence implementation is cost saving. This is also true as far as the US military is concerned. Once again Sgt. Star is the perfect example. He was first introduced to the US public in 2006. According to the US recruitment office Sgt. Star is effectively doing the work of 55 human recruiters. Statistics which is kept by the US recruitment office showed that this industrious chatbot has already answered more than 10 million questions. Sgt. Star has been involved in almost 3, 000, 000 chat sessions”.
For those willing to do the calculation, Sgt. Star is interacting with more than 1500 people every day.
What lessons can businesses learn from the military?
It is a well-known fact that military powers in various parts of the world are always quick to embrace emerging technologies. They find IT related technologies especially interesting. There is no doubt that large military forces such as the US military have accomplished a lot in the area of artificial intelligence. Those technologies have been used extensively in the war on terrorism. Many of the lessons which have been learned by the US military, in particular, can also be implemented by organizations and businesses. According to Ben Ezra, a number of Israeli soldiers were involved in a brainstorming operation during the last year of which the purpose was to discover new ways to use chatbots to improve the effectiveness of the IDF. It is also a well-known fact that the IDF’s Sigma Department has a history of co-opting civilian technologies for military use. Naturally the results of the brainstorming operation will always be classified information, but there were some indications of some of the objectives. What this is showing all interested parties is the fact that military powers will go to any extent to ensure the safety of its borders.
How can businesses improve their productivity?
“Just like the IDF businesses should effectively utilize their human resources and they should be encouraged to explore all available technologies in order to discover new ideas which can then be implemented to benefit the business”.
The reality is that the US military makes use of Sgt. Star as part of its recruitment process because that was the logical thing to do. Businesses and organizations should learn from these examples. The fact remains that millions of people are actively involved in instant messaging and a wide variety of social media platforms. Therefore, the US military is correct in interacting with prospective soldiers on those platforms. It shows that the US military is innovative and that it is interested in those things which are of interest to the citizens of that country. No one will argue that the US military is one of the largest employers on this planet and if they find it useful to make use of entities such as Sgt. Star then that should definitely say something to businesses around the world. It is those businesses that will embrace emerging technologies that will have the best chance to grow and to profit in an extremely competitive environment.
Chatbots usually help industries to become more green, by reducing the carbon footprint associated with staff who travel. It prevents fraud – especially card fraud during transactions. But when it gets to the military, well – it produces a unique set of benefits that will make countries more competitive in the long run.
Suggested reading: Follow weekly news commentary by Avi Ben Ezra or access Research by Avi Ben Ezra.
Youtube video – A vision of the future, by SnatchBot: