Army Researchers Create Conversational AI to Improve Soldier-Robot Communications

The new AI has the ability to ask for clarification if it does not understand a command.

Talking is our most essential form of communication. It is useful in day to day operations but it becomes even more critical in high-pressure situations such as those encountered by the army personnel.

In light of this, army researchers have developed an advanced artificial intelligence (AI) that is capable of carrying on a conversation. Yes! It’s a military AI that can speak.

The researchers from the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory, in collaboration with the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies, have called their new AI the Joint Understanding and Dialogue Interface, or JUDI for short.

“Dialogue will be a critical capability for autonomous systems operating across multiple echelons of Multi-Domain Operations so that Soldiers across the land, air, sea, and information spaces can maintain situational awareness on the battlefield,” said in a statement Dr. Matthew Marge, a research scientist at the laboratory.

“This technology enables a Soldier to interact with autonomous systems through bidirectional speech and dialogue in tactical operations where verbal task instructions can be used for command and control of a mobile robot.”

Marge added that JUDI also gives the robot the ability to ask for clarification or provide status updates as tasks are completed. This means that soldiers will no longer have to rely on pre-specified, and possibly outdated, information about a mission.

Instead, dialogue with JUDI will allow human teammates to have the most up to date and complete information. Marge further explained that conversational  JUDI is different than Alexa and Siri because it is designed for tasks that require reasoning in the physical world.Today’s intelligent personal assistants can rely on thousands of training examples, while JUDI only has access to hundreds. Next, the researchers plan to evaluate the robustness of JUDI with physical mobile robot platforms at a field test in September. The results could forever change how the army interacts with robots ushering in a new era of powerful AI.


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