Military Embedded Systems

AI program from DARPA aims to transform multimedia analysis


September 19, 2022

Lisa Daigle

Assistant Managing Editor

Military Embedded Systems

DARPA logo.

ARLINGTON, Va. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has issued a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) seeking proposals for its new Environment-driven Conceptual Learning (ECOLE) program, which intends to radically improve computational systems that analyze large amounts of multimedia by creating artificial intelligence (AI) agents capable of continually learning from linguistic and visual input.

According to the agency's announcement of the ECOLE launch, the goal of the program is to enable collaborative human-machine analysis of image, video, and multimedia documents during time-sensitive, mission-critical DoD analytic tasks that must be reliable and robust. 

Dr. William Corvey, ECOLE program manager in DARPA’s Information Innovation Office, says that today's multimedia analysis systems lack introspection. "Furthermore, symbolic representations as they’ve been constructed in the past simply do not scale. The core innovation in ECOLE will be teaching the AI to learn representations that are faceted and conceptual in nature -- such as representations that can be iterated on with a human partner; representations that can be reasoned over; and representations that can be readily generalized.”

The results garnered from the ECOLE program should be broadly applicable to a range of technology sectors, including the semantic web community, commercial companies that reason over information on the internet; the robotics industry; public-safety organizations that must process images or video for object and activity recognition; and any industry requiring robust, automatic reasoning over image and video data, like autonomous vehicles.

The ECOLE effort will run over four years divided into three phases. The BAA can be viewed at the official site. 

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