UK Military is Not AI-Ready, Says Defense Official

The UK military is not yet ready to fully adopt artificial intelligence (AI) into its systems despite increasing global initiatives to the technology for modern warfare.

This is according to British defense procurement minister James Cartlidge, who delivered a critical assessment of the country’s AI preparedness during a recent defense committee hearing.

“Are we yet at the stage where we can say, in every aspect of the Ministry of Defence, we’re at the highest level of AI preparedness? No,” he was quoted as saying.

While he acknowledged that the UK military has made significant progress in incorporating AI in “some important areas,” Cartlidge said its application still needs to go a lot further.

“I think the rate of progress is very good but I would never be relaxed and say that we’re now in a steady state that is entirely satisfactory,” he stressed.

AI has proven to have numerous military advantages, such as improved intelligence gathering and target detection, as well as the ability to analyze huge data far more quickly than conventional systems.

UK Military Applications

Cartlidge said the UK has begun utilizing AI to support various military initiatives, including the development of drones for Ukraine.

In November 2023, he also visited a Royal Naval Air Station for the unveiling of new AI software that can rapidly process aircraft maintenance data and ensure engineering problems are detected and fixed as quickly as possible.

“By investing in the power of artificial intelligence, we are ensuring that our defensive assets are not only technologically superior, but also operate with precision, efficiency, and amplified safety,” he said last year.

The British Army also recently revealed that it is now using AI to speed up recruitment by rapidly analyzing the medical documents of potential recruits.

The new AI tech has reportedly reduced the total application time by 25 percent.

Increasing Global Use

Cartlidge’s assessment comes as countries around the world have begun investing more in AI to address evolving threats.

Russia has been using generative AI to carry out sophisticated cyberattacks, according to Microsoft.

Military superpower China has also claimed to have developed AI-enabled technologies for jamming and espionage activities.

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