Palantir's Evolving role with the Army
The Militarization of data, surveillance, drones and A.I. is here.
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I try to cover some aspects of how A.I. is increasingly being used for military purposes beyond citizen control and by National Defense sectors in their partnerships with public companies in what you might call data analytics and A.I. startups that are evolving into global corporations.
I keep coming back to how major Cloud (monopoly) providers such as Azure and AWS work with the Pentagon closely and today I wrote a little bit more about Sandbox AQ (spun out of Alphabet) and their entanglement with the U.S. Defense sector (see Quantum Foundry).
Back in October, 2021 Palantir was awarded a $823 million contract to enable an intelligence data fabric and analytics as part of an effort to modernize legacy battlefield intelligence systems. So how is it evolving now?
Today on July 28th, 2022 the U.S. Army Research Lab expanded its Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Contract with Palantir for $99.9 million.
Essentially, Palantir enables military forces to interact with data from all sensors and sources through a single point of access. With one coherent model, users can discover previously unseen links across their entire universe of data. With Palantir software, military forces can rapidly turn mountains of data into plans of action.
This is just one of the ways in which A.I. is being increasingly harnessed in Big Data, data analytics, military intelligence and A.I. by National Defense clients.
Robots Self-Learning via Dreamer Algo
I also cover Robotics, and the Dreamer algorithm out of Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley (Google Brain) also is notable.
Kids beating up robots who learn to stand and walk on their own surprisingly fast. I cover this in my column in Artificial Intelligence Survey.
When you train AI to pilot fighter jets or develop robots with self-learning capabilities, you are probably entering some darker territory for our future. Robotics itself is at a vital crossroads, and the way we discuss it now will help to define the category in the future.
Boston Dynamics has been sold off too many times to count, but I actually think Xpeng will beat Tesla to consumer robotics. China will make this happen. How little this is actually even covered by Western tech outlets? It’s incredible guys.
Palantir’s October, 2021 contract was for capability drop 2 for the Distributed Common Ground System and will deliver a data fabric for intelligence across the world. The Army said capability drop 2 software will serve as the base data platform supporting and enabling enterprise intelligence data management and operations. Elon Musk’s Starlink system has been surprisingly useful for the U.S. to aid Ukraine during the War started by Russia’s Putin.
War and National Defense spending increases can be really profitable for companies involved in the A.I. and automation aspect of the modern battle field, military comms and surveillance tech that’s needed. When the agenda for President Joe Biden’s call with Chinese leader Xi Jinping included a “don’t play with fire” warning from the Chinese leader to the American leader over Taiwan, it reminded me about how Google’s CEO and other leaders in BigTech often call A.I. the new fire.
The year was January, 2020, Sundar Pichai also wants to play with fire. (Video)
If the forest fires are burning and the stock market is hot in a bear market rally, so are tensions and sparks amid geopolitical conflict points. This is a very dangerous time and A.I. is being used increasingly on the front lines.
About a year ago in June, 2021 Microsoft announced a huge contract with the Army over its Holo Lens 2 product, to “augment” soldiers with AR.
“Soldiers will be able to rehearse and train in more realistic scenarios using augmented reality to prepare themselves for what they are walking into,” says Master Sgt. Marc Krugh, a senior enlisted advisor who’s worked on the project since its inception.
In October 2018, the U.S. Army awarded Microsoft a $480 million contract to adapt its HoloLens AR headset, a set of goggles that overlay holograms on top of a user's field of view, for the program. But in all its an astounding $22 Billion deal, according to Bloomberg.
Palantir’s CEO is endearingly adversarial with Silicon Valley. It’s more amusing even perhaps than the antics of Elon Musk. It’s also setting up Denver to be like Austin, (and Texas and Colorado itself) to be a place where tech companies and startups are moving. Palantir is a small company compared to Microsoft and others implicated in National Security and the industrial military complex that welcomes war and conflict, for commercial profit.
Palantir first partnered with the Army Research Lab to provide those on the frontlines with state-of-the-art operational data and AI capabilities in 2018. Just four years later and a lot of practical experience on the ground in Ukraine and look what we have here.
Palantir’s platform has supported the integration, management, and deployment of relevant data and AI model training to all of the Armed Services, COCOMs, and special operators. This extension grows Palantir’s operational RDT&E work to more users globally. The war machine of firms supporting National Defense and the military with more tools is here. With no clear global guidance or regulation, where does it end?
Gotham and Batman
Just like military robots needing their own training, nothing happens overnight, of course. Back in October, 2021 Palantir said its software called Gotham Platform will be used to "support Army Intelligence users worldwide with a globally federated Intelligence data fabric and analytics platform spanning multiple security classifications.
I guess that makes Palantir’s CEO the real Batman of Colorado. Palantir was founded by Peter Thiel, among others and Alex Karp is really its main face since 2003.
Can Big Data save the World in a Military Sense?
See the video.
Palantir helps military decision makers leverage critical information for data-driven decisions.
Palantir is evolving too. Palantir will provide users with a globally federated intelligence data fabric and analytics platform spanning multiple security classifications, the company said in a release. The system will enable data integration, correlation, fusion and analytic capabilities.
I feel so much safer knowing Microsoft, Google, Palantir and others are protecting us with this crucial technology. I digress, my sarcasm is coming out. Thus I feel safer knowing too that our military troops and personnel of our American army are being augmented with A.I. Why not just turn them into cyborgs guys? What are you even waiting for?
If my ancestors saw a U.S. army person with a Hololens 2 checking Starlink and drone surveillance, they might mistake that the person was an alien or a robot. If Americans want to play with fire, who is the world to stop them? Anything against the evil Russians and criminal Chinese.
Sadly at scale, this could lead to some poor outcomes for civilians and those not related to the American vs. Chinese confrontation for global and A.I. supremacy.
JEDI and Drone Swarms
Fast forward to 2022, and lo and behold, Palantir has a “long tradition” of providing cutting-edge technology to the United States Armed Forces and its allies. It’s been four years guys.
Also back in June, 2021 after Microsoft won the massive Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (Jedi) contract, it drew complaints and a legal challenge from tech rival Amazon, which claimed that the choice was politically motivated. I don’t currently know the status on the Pentagon’s JEDI contract.
But you can join the Army today!
The PR today continues: Palantir’s software platforms will continue to quickly implement advanced AI capabilities against some of DOD’s most pressing problem sets. “We’re looking forward to fielding our newest ML, Edge, and Space technologies alongside our U.S. military partners,” said Shannon Clark, Senior Vice President of Innovation, Federal. “These technologies will enable operators in the field to leverage AI insights to make decisions across many fused domains. From outer space to the sea floor, and everything in between.”
Don’t be a problem for the DOD.
As of June 4th, 2022: Biden is proposing a $30 billion increase in national defense spending in his fiscal 2023 budget from the current level. Congress already allocated roughly $29 billion more than the commander in chief sought for defense in fiscal 2022, with Democrats and Republicans joining forces to rebuke Biden's first Pentagon plan.
I regret that I have to cover AI in war and militarization of machine learning. I find it suspicious and pretty awful that it is not covered in a serious way in America itself. I’m not sure if this is perhaps my contribution to Substack’s meme of accountability journalism, but whatever. Maybe it’s really a thing! America embraces violence on many levels and it’s been normalized.
Maybe I am getting a bit nervous or upset about it. Maybe we should all be more concerned.
Where is this A.I. arms race in terms of military technology going to take us and what will be the end-game? This sort of momentum will only make the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) work even more closely with their BigTech and innovation sector to create even more powerful military and surveillance technologies.
A BigTech cold-war syndrome is profitable but at what cost to humanity? The means don’t justify the ends.
"Maintaining a leading edge through technology is foundational to our mission and partnership with the Army Research Laboratory," said Akash Jain, President of Palantir USG.
Americans believe in carrying arms, and roaming distant places with their tech, but what if all comes crashing down? America won’t be the leader of the free world forever, if you believe that Americans themselves are free.
That time might be approaching.
Thank God in that case, for Palantir, Starlink, Microsoft, and the proud Americans who protect nations bullied by the fear-mongering China’s empire.
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