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Seeing into the future: AF looks to AI for data analysis

  • Published
  • Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs
In an effort to digest and rapidly analyze the process of decision making, Headquarters Air Force Digital Operations Directorate (A3X) developed an artificial intelligence-based software that can be applied to all Air Force specialty codes to better examine and predict operational outcomes.
 
Tomorrow’s operating environment requires Airmen to have the most accurate and up-to-date intelligence to act quickly in real time, today. Headquarters Air Staff have developed six software programs for career fields using AI to conduct data analysis.
 
George Forbes, director of HAF Digital Operations Directorate, cited the exponential benefits of being able to make decisions more accurately, more predictably and more precisely.
 
“We can shift from spending time doing manual tasks – like putting information into computers – and move to more cognitive techniques where we can analyze the data because the computer is doing much of the busy and manual work.” George Forbes, Director, HAF Digital Operations Directorate
 
Besides data management, the AI software can calculate predictions based off equations and programming, depending on the type of data available. Whether the predicted outcome is correct or not, the software is capable of learning and adapting to produce even more accurate outcomes for future calculations.
 
“We might take in different data, like how many people are in the Air Force, what is their behavior based upon their gender and age, or other demographic categories to anticipate [their behaviors] in a particular situation. For instance, we can predict their decision to stay in or leave the Air Force,” Forbes said. “We use the force's past behavior to train the models to predict their future behavior. Specifically, we use a Recurring Neural Network Methodology, which is a high-end AI method.”
 
The software is adaptable across all AFSCs to interpret different situations. From tracking flight hours to locating equipment, this new application can replace cumbersome applications and software systems presently used to more user-friendly ones for newcomers. Past applications are portable to other asset management type work but not necessarily in AI.
 
“When you build an application to manage something like equipment, you want it to be kept alive. This is where standardized application development systems come in,” Forbes said. “You can build them at your current base, and, once you PCS [Permanent Change of Station], you can still use the same process.”
 
The overarching goal of the new software systems is to provide leaders quicker access to interpret data and make impactful decisions.