Russia Races Forward on AI Development

The recent 2017 statement by Russian President Vladimir Putin that whoever masters AI will get to rule the world should be interpreted as a recognition of Russia’s current place in this unfolding technology race, and of the need by the nation’s government, private sector, and the military to marshal the needed resources to persevere in this domain. This is already beginning to happen. The Russian government is increasingly developing and funding various AI-related projects, many under the auspices of the Ministry of Defense and its affiliated institutions and research centers. All this government activity has apparently infused many Russian developers with new confidence. Indeed, some are claiming that AI may arrive in just a few years’ time. It is even engendering hope that the country might at long last develop an infrastructure for turning theoretical knowledge, long the strength of its scientific community, into practical solutions. There are in fact practical developments in the Russian military-industrial complex that seek to incorporate certain AI elements in existing and future missile, aircraft, electronic warfare (EW), unmanned systems, and other tech. Russians also expect AI to help automate the analysis of satellite imagery and radar data, by quickly identifying targets and picking out unusual behavior by a enemy ground or airborne forces.

However, based on the available evidence, Western militaries need not be immediately alarmed about the arrival of AI-infused Russian weapons with next-generation capabilities — except, perhaps, in the field of EW. Western and Chinese efforts are currently well ahead of Russian initiatives, in terms of funding, infrastructure, and practical results. But the Russian government is clearly aiming to marshal its existing academic and industrial resources for AI breakthroughs — and just might achieve them.

Read more here: Defense One

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