Lock It Down Back There, R-2

The “big data” revolution means that in the not-too-distant future, “every airman” will have a device like the Amazon Alexa or even an “R2-D2,” vice chief of staff Gen. Stephen Wilson predicted Wednesday. These devices will “sift through vast amounts of data” and help airmen “make decisions based on that.” Not only that, but all “future systems need to be built with [the capability of] machine-discoverable data.” Pilots especially will have an artificial intelligence adjunct “to sense and understand the situation” to help them be the “quarterbacks” of any war, Wilson said. AI is clearly advancing rapidly, Wilson noted, saying computer technology has already advanced far beyond machines that can beat humans at chess, noting the victory of the IBM Watson at “Jeopardy!”—it can “process structured and unstructured data”—and a computer that recently won a championship in poker, “meaning it knows how to bluff,” he said.