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DARPA Kicks-Off New Research Project on Artificial Social Intelligence

DARPA Kicks-Off New Research Project on Artificial Social Intelligence

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is embarking on a new research project aimed at cultivating artificial social intelligence. The project began in December, but project leader Dr. Joshua Elliott has shared that it may be many years before the ambitious project makes much headway. However, DARPA was established for that exact purpose: to make pivotal investments in breakthrough technologies for national security. While significant advances in article social intelligence may be years off, DARPA is taking the important first steps in pursing advanced AI technology that will give the United States a competitive advantage in future military missions.

The project being called “Artificial Social Intelligence for Successful Teams” or the ASIST program. The program “seeks to develop foundational AI theory and systems that demonstrate the basic machine social skills needed to infer the goals and situational knowledge of human partners, predict what they will need, and offer context-aware actions in order to perform as adaptable and resilient AI teammates.”

The project is being led by Aptima with Arizona State University (ASU) and the Center for Open Science (COS) as partners. Aptima, ASU, and COS are planning to develop a Social Intelligence Manipulation & Measurement Laboratory (SIM2 Lab) to model how robots can be programed to understand contextual clues that will enable them to behave in a way that more closely resembles human response and evaluation.

The initial program solicitation states that “the ability to create shared mental models are key elements of human social intelligence. Together, these two skills form the basis for human collaboration at all scales, whether the setting is a playing field or a military mission.” For artificial intelligent robots to be able to function in high-stake environments, it is important they are programed to compliment human thinking and action and are able to better adapt to environments that require observation and deductive reasoning.

For more information on the program, please visit:

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