[00:00.00]In the controlled environment of the United States military, the big room with shiny white paint stands out.
[00:09.35]The room has computer work stations, overhead projectors and a digital clock that shows the current time in cities around the world.
[00:19.81]But what captures the attention of many visitors are the walls.
[00:26.03]They are covered from top to bottom with questions, mathematical notations, pictures and ideas.
[00:35.32]These markings represent the best thinking of some of the greatest minds in the military.
[00:44.11]"There are precious few places in this building where you can write on a wall," said Albert Bolden.
[00:52.19]His claim is not too surprising since this area, the Innovation Hub or iHUB, is part of a military base.
[01:03.49]Bolden is director of innovation at the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).
[01:10.94]"People from across the agency can come into this space and figure out how to solve our problems," he said.
[01:20.61]This might seem like a feel-good story of military structure mixing with Silicon Valley creativity to make life easier with technology.
[01:31.77]But it is about much more.
[01:34.63]Marine Lieutenant General Vincent Stewart has served as the DIA’s director.
[01:42.34]He said, “The fight for remaining relevant in this digital age is what keeps me awake."
[01:50.25]Stewart made clear that it is, in many ways, an arms race.
[01:56.86]"Our adversaries have been modernizing," he warned, speaking to a small group of reporters and others at the iHUB in August.
[02:07.39]The agency had invited business representatives and academic experts there for a series of what were called Industry Days.
[02:18.47]Such meetings between top thinkers at the DIA and those outside of government are an important part of iHUB’s planning.
[02:31.51]U.S. officials want to know if commercial technologies could help solve problems that agency experts have identified.
[02:44.62]One company seeking to be part of this effort is a Texas-based start-up business called SparkCognition.
[02:56.72]It specializes in artificial intelligence: making computers perform work that normally requires human intelligence.
[03:09.37]The U.S. Air Forces has already shown an interest in SparkCognition.
[03:16.60]Also, large companies like Verizon and Boeing are now investing more than $30 million in the small start-up's neural network effort.
[03:31.65]It is designed to copy the operations of a human brain in order to predict results.
[03:40.96]"What we've done is automate that research that a data scientist would do," said SparkCognition's Sam Septembre.
[03:52.87]Instead of taking weeks or days, however, Septembre said his company's systems can provide results in hours or even minutes.
[04:06.69]SparkCognition says its platforms already have succeeded in predicting some major world events, although the test cases still leave room for improvement.
[04:22.12]"The human factor got involved and skewed it," said Timothy Stefanick, director of business operations at the company.
[04:33.50]He explained that some predictions were found to be wrong after human experts did not trust the results from the artificial intelligence.
[04:46.51]Another company seeking to work with the DIA is Percipient.ai.
[04:53.18]It is exploring how to make artificial intelligence useful in video work.
[05:00.53]"This is a kind of capability that helps you get into productive analytics and helps you protect forces," said company cofounder Balan Ayyar.
[05:12.42]"You can check any person in any video," he said.
[05:17.58]Ayyar is a retired Air Force Brigadier General. He and fellow Percipient.ai co-founder Raj Shah say their platform can save experts considerable time.
[05:33.30]For example, the AI could quickly search for terror suspects in hundreds of hours of video from a terror attack.
[05:43.88]Even mobile phones could be used to follow possible threats, programmed to shake if a person of interest turns up in a "selfie."
[05:54.10]"With this kind of system, the [terror] watch list could be much, much bigger," said Shah, who formerly was chief of Google Maps.
[06:05.58]Ayyar and Shah say Percipient.ai's systems can already identify suspicious activity or equipment.
[06:16.57]For DIA, the early results have been promising.
[06:22.57]"We've seen examples when machines are able to provide insights to the analysts that they haven't had," said Randy Soper, a DIA expert on analytics modernization.
[06:38.13]To speed up the process, DIA even provides money — up to about $250,000 — to projects that have shown the most promise.
[06:52.63]Two have already been approved.
[06:56.17]Four others are on a list to receive money as soon as it is available.
[07:03.81]More projects could soon be added. DIA's Innovation Hub continues considering proposals from industry and academia.
[07:16.10]But the success in reaching out to industry and universities also has brought some changes to the program.
[07:27.44]On August 22, the DIA opened up a new Innovation Hub.
[07:35.35]At first look, it is smooth and modern: a line of computers screens and a digital world clock.
[07:44.53]A large conference table is the center of the room.
[07:49.31]But, much of the room is covered in that white, shiny paint.
[07:55.56]"You can still write on the walls," said one official.
[08:00.78]I’m Caty Weaver.
[08:02.68]And I'm Jonathan Evans.