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On Friday, October 15th, Axios managing editor for politics Margaret Talev and future correspondent Bryan Walsh discussed how technologies like AI and cloud computing are revolutionizing the military landscape, featuring Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) and Palantir Technologies Global Defense Lead Doug Philippone.

Sen. Mark Kelly explained the developments in the use of advanced defense technologies as a deterrent, what war could look like in the future, and the ethical risks of these technological developments.

  • On the rise of advanced technologies in the military: “I think you should think about this of us taking science, research, innovation and bringing it to the warfighter, to the marine, to the airmen, the sailor and the soldier so we can maintain that superiority.”
  • On considering the risks of artificial intelligence: “I think in general, we want to keep the person in the loop to try to avoid the mistakes. When we’re making life and death situations, I don’t think we want to turn that over to artificial intelligence. But, AI of today is much different than the AI we’re going to see, and it’s going to be part of our society 20, 50, 100 years from now. This is rapidly changing technology that we need to invest in.”

Doug Philippone highlighted how data helps militaries gather intelligence, how the defense landscape has changed over the years, and what cybersecurity risks surround military use of advanced technology.

  • On integrating new technology into existing defense systems: “At the cutting edge, you have these exquisite sensors and new AI platforms that all need to be connected. They have to be interoperable, you have to build an architecture that connects them so that data can flow and that people can make decisions.”
  • On the affordances of artificial intelligence: “I’m not a big fan of taking the human out of the loop here, but it’s about giving recommendations and having the human see things that they would never be able to see.”

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Dec 22, 2021 - Technology

The benefits and risks of new tech will decide the future

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

The future we will live in will largely be a function of balancing the benefits that new technology brings with the risks and downsides it inevitably causes.

Why it matters: The pandemic has demonstrated both the value of accelerated technology and the penalty when it's held back by red tape and regulation — lessons that would be smart to take for a future that demands innovation.

The front-runners for Biden's Supreme Court pick

Judge Kentaji Brown Jackson (left) and Justice Leondra Kruger (right) Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images and Lonnie Tague, US Department of Justice

Two highly accomplished Black female judges — Ketanji Brown Jackson, a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals; and Leondra Kruger, a justice on the California Supreme Court — are seen as the early front-runners to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

The big picture: Jackson is a powerful federal judge with a record that progressives feel they can trust. Kruger was a highly regarded litigator and has carved out a reputation for working well with conservative judges.

Fed: Rate hikes are near

The Federal Reserve's headquarters building. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The Federal Reserve is on track to raise its main target interest rate in mid-March, as Chair Jerome Powell pledged to be "humble and nimble" in adapting policy to a fast-changing economy.

Why it matters: Fed leaders are looking to choke off inflation by raising interest rates in the near future, but keeping its options open for how fast and far the effort will go.