WIRED: “As Russia Plots Its Next Move, an AI Listens to the Chatter”

“The ability to train and retrain AI models on the fly will become a critical advantage in future wars.”

Sean Gourley, Primer CEO, quoted in Wired

WIRED’s Will Knight took an in-depth look at recent advances in AI/ML to analyze open source intelligence (OSINT) in the context of military conflict. The story opens with colorful dialogue among Russian soldiers in Ukraine, captured from unencrypted communications channels, revealing their situation after encountering artillery fire.

“Their words were automatically captured, transcribed, translated, and analyzed using several artificial intelligence algorithms developed by Primer, a US company that provides AI services for intelligence analysts,” wrote WIRED. “Primer is one of a growing number of companies that could make these technologies more accessible to those in the defense world and in private industry.“

Read: As Russia Plots Its Next Move, an AI Listens to the Chatter, WIRED, April 4, 2022

According to WIRED, “Primer already sells AI algorithms trained to transcribe and translate phone calls, as well as ones that pull out key terms or phrases. Sean Gourley, Primer’s CEO, says the company’s engineers modified these tools to carry out four new tasks:

  1. to gather audio captured from web feeds that broadcast communications captured using software that emulates radio receiver hardware;
  2. to remove noise, including background chatter and music;
  3. to transcribe and translate Russian speech; and
  4. to highlight key statements relevant to the battlefield situation. In some cases this involved retraining machine learning models to recognize colloquial terms for military vehicles or weapons.

“The ability to train and retrain AI models on the fly will become a critical advantage in future wars, says Gourley.”

WIRED continued with insight from CSIS’s Emily Harding: “The amount of open source intelligence is impossible for anyone to process. Primer has distinguished itself for its ability to parse language.”

As Wired concludes, “Gathering and analyzing data using AI could eventually become central to battlefield operations. The US military is investing millions to develop AI software capable of ingesting and analyzing different signals in the field.”

Read: A New Era of Warfare: How AI Unlocks Intelligence, by Primer CEO Sean Gourley

“Such advances could provide critical information more quickly, allowing military decision makers to outfox their foes.” However, along with new opportunities, AI introduces new risks, as well.

The article concludes quoting Gourley, “Our philosophy on AI and defense is that whatever algorithm you go into the war with is not going to be the one that you end up with.”

Learn more about Primer Command for real-time situational awareness.