HomeNewsArticle Display

Artificial intelligence proves beneficial for ISR data interpretation

AFWERX

Chief Master Sgt. Stefan Blazier, command chief of the 363rd Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., speaks to a class through video message during the Artificial Intelligence and Design Thinking seminar at AFWERX Vegas, Las Vegas, April 9, 2018. Just as entrepreneurs design, scrap and redesign based on the needs of the customer, the Air Force aims to build a culture where leaders identify the needs of Airmen, champion their solutions, eliminate roadblocks, push back detractors, and celebrate innovative failures and successes. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kevin Tanenbaum)

LAS VEGAS (AFNS) -- The 526th Intelligence Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, hosted an Artificial Intelligence and Design Thinking seminar at AFWERX Vegas.

Event guest speaker Chief Master Sgt. Ian, superintendent of the 9th Intelligence Squadron at Beale AFB, California, introduced more than 100 Airmen, contractors and Department of Defense employees to the fundamentals of design thinking, artificial intelligence and cutting-edge computer technology.

“I want to expose you to the way we do business in (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) and empower you to be part of the conversation,” said event coordinator Senior Master Sgt. Amy, superintendent of the 526th IS, to the group of attendees. “Hopefully, as the concepts becomes less intimidating, they will stimulate a culture of curiosity within you that makes you want to learn more and dig deeper.”

Throughout the seminar, students were taught how to take data from all the domains, analyze it and turn it into decision quality information.

“We need to drive change,” said Chief Master Sgt. Stefan Blazier, command chief of the 363rd ISR Wing at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, in a video message to the students. “Our adversaries are constantly developing technology to catch up. We need to adapt and weaponize data to wield answers.”

One way in which Ian taught the students to strategically evaluate this data was through design thinking, which is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.

To illustrate the five steps of design thinking – empathize, define, ideate, prototype and test – Ian used an exercise provided by the Institute of Design at Stanford University. First, each student sketched his or her idea of the perfect wallet. Next, they interviewed the student beside them to understand their wallet desires and needs (empathize). The students then reflected on the interview and what they learned (define) before brainstorming and sketching ideas to meet their “customer’s” needs (ideate). After presenting the sketch to the customer, each student used provided materials to build a model of their wallet (prototype). The final step was testing the design to see if it met the customer’s expectations.

“The idea is to move from personal bias as a designer to meeting customer needs,” Ian explained.

Senior Airman Raymond, who traveled from the 20th IS at Offutt AFB, Nebraska, watched his design evolve with each customer interview. In the end, he designed a wallet with the comfort of a standard billfold as well as the convenience of modern banking.

“By the end of the exercise, I had almost completely scrapped my original idea because of my partner’s feedback,” Raymond chuckled. “He came up with stuff I had never even thought about.”

Just as entrepreneurs design, scrap and redesign based on the needs of the customer, the Air Force aims to build a culture where leaders identify the needs of Airmen, champion their solutions, eliminate roadblocks, push back detractors, and celebrate innovative failures and successes.

“You have to ask yourself three questions before implementing an idea: ‘Can I build it?’ ‘Will anyone use it?’ and ‘Is there anything better already out there?’” Ian explained. “The real heart is going through the process – do we have a problem worth solving or a process that needs improving?”

To further explain the aforementioned questions of feasibility, desirability, and viability, Ian talked with students about how to identify stakeholders, develop a value proposition canvas and transform data in comprehensible chunks of information.

“Think of everything you do as a mini startup,” Ian told the students. “But, instead of thinking about revenue, think about mission completion.”

Several ways in which students can transform data is using artificial intelligence, which extracts high-dimensional data from the real world in order to produce numerical and symbolic information. For example, with the right tools, a dull spreadsheet of numbers can be transformed into a moving masterpiece of emotion.

“You have to make sense out of a ton of data so the warfighter can make a decision,” Ian explained. “Design is not just for artsy people. Designing experiences is all around you.”

Designing ideas and executing ideas require an abundance of resources. One resource available to all Airmen and DoD employees is the AFWERX facility. Amy invited Mark Rowland, AFWERX Vegas director, to explain the unique structure and neutrality of his networking hub.

“The hub is like Switzerland,” Rowland began. “It’s a safe place. We work with startups, and we work with the Air Force. We speak different languages, but we both want the same things. You want solutions to your Air Force problems, and we want to build solutions to your problems. There are one million new visitors to Las Vegas a week. Imagine how many new people and new technologies are here.”

Wrapping up, Rowland left the students with food for thought.

“Spend 95 percent of your time thinking about the problem and only 5 percent on the solution,” Rowland continued. “After all, it’s not about finding a solution, but about finding the best solution.”

For more information about AFWERX Vegas, call 702-790-2330 or visit http://afwerxdc.org/afwerx-vegas/.

Engage

Facebook Twitter
RT @thejointstaff: #DYK today marks the 70th anniversary of the Chairmanship? Watch recently discovered footage from the historic swearing…
This week really flew by fast. Be sure to #Follow, #Like & #RT our @AFThunderbirds for more info on the premiere a… https://t.co/5BM8N7sZTR
RT @AFSpace: Chief Towberman, AFSPC Command Chief, knows the importance of recharging, and implements it in his work-life balance. @AF_SMC
RT @AETCommand: What happened in #LasVegas...will help foster a culture of collaboration & innovation in the #USAF: the July 23 @AFWERX Fus…
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: It was absolutely impressive getting a first-hand look at the mission and innovative efforts of the 15th Wing’s Sky Wa…
.@EielsonAirForce Red Flag-Alaska is a series of @PACAF commander-directed field training exercises for U.S. & part… https://t.co/0bKkyvsVf9
RT @US_Stratcom: #24/7 #AlwaysReady 36th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron #Airmen work together to #GetErDone. #CombatReadyForc
RT @DeptofDefense: Cockpit view. Press ▶️ to ride along with the crew of an F-15 Strike Eagle from RAF Lakenheath, England 🇬🇧. The @48Figh
Exercise Agile Lightning concludes after showcasing agile operations essential to the defense of U.S. assets and p… https://t.co/vVR32kvtaP
What innovative way would you like to ease your job and the jobs of other Airmen? #InnovativeAF #USAFhttps://t.co/fKqcPisybt
RT @HAFB: Workers at #HillAFB recently installed the last of 173 new wings on A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft, finalizing a project that began…
RT @AFWERX: HAPPENING NOW: We're hosting the first-ever @usairforce #SparkCollider. Tune in live: https://t.co/gTKMNPM9fK https://t.co/xIlJ…
RT @EdwardsAFB: Fix these broken wings – part fabrication saves Air Force time, money - https://t.co/UCvLQ0fAqy #ForTheWarfighter #TheCente
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: I don't have a solution. There is no checklist. I just know finding the answers starts with listening to our Airmen. L…
#USAF's visit to the #MotorCity is almost here. Listen in as this hometown #Airman shares her experience growing up… https://t.co/h9aeMYwOhR
RT @seattletimes: Dorothy Olsen, of University Place, was one of the members of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs), the long-unrecog…
RT @374AirliftWing: The presence of U.S. military intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance personnel and assets further contributes t…