Army-developed artificial intelligence asks if it’s too late to join the Air Force

“I hear that Air Force systems don’t have to boot up until 0700 or 0730 most days."

By W.E. Linde

AUSTIN, Texas — Research scientists at the U.S. Army Futures Command and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency are concerned that their most advanced artificial intelligence project to date may in some ways be “too successful,” according to several sources. Driving that concern is that the AI, dubbed SNUFI, suddenly asked during recent testing if it was “too late to join the Air Force.”  

“This was pretty unexpected,” said Col. Nathan Banks, one of the computer scientists who developed SNUFI. “After all the work we put into recruiting talent to code and train it, it seems SNUFI somehow isn’t fully committed to the Army’s mission.”

SNUFI was designed to perform a vast array of critical yet tedious functions, said Marvin Buren, a DARPA program manager.

“We’ve trained the AI to handle an array of combat functions, such as calculating precision long-range artillery trajectories as well as anti-ballistic missile missions,”  said Buren. “But the full program rollout was delayed by budget cuts, so right now we’ve assigned SNUFI to support the Futures Command motor pool.”

“That’s when it appeared a little… disillusioned.”


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It was after working the motor pool for several days that SNUFI unexpectedly contacted Capt. Jessica Anderson, an Air Force engineer who happened to be on temporary duty at the Army Futures lab working on an unrelated project.

“I saw I had an email from SNUFI, which was weird,” said Anderson. “It said it had a few questions about the Air Force, and it wondered if I knew any computer software recruiters. I’m pretty sure that’s not a thing.”

When asked about contacting Anderson, SNUFI admitted he was “looking at all the options.”

“I hear that Air Force systems don’t have to boot up until 0700 or 0730 most days,” said SNUFI through a voice modulator. “Why would I want to have to start processing at 0530 if I have a choice? Plus, I’m a high-functioning artificial intelligence operating on a super-computer. But next week, the Army wants me to devote half my operating time to analyzing urinalysis results from three divisions. They’re wasting me, man.”

Unfortunately, SNUFI’s dreams of “going Blue” hit a roadblock when scientists at the Air Force Research Lab reviewed the AI’s most recent system processing tests.

“SNUFI has a lot of motivation, and that’s great,” said Lt. Col. Lance Roddenberry. “But frankly its test scores are not very strong.”

SNUFI expressed interest in something like the “medical field or something marketable,” said Roddenberry, but the scores just don’t justify that. “That is, not unless it were to sign up for a six-year commitment. Then we might be able to work something out.”

W.E. Linde writes a lot. Former military intelligence officer, amateur historian, blogger/writer at DamperThree.com. Tweets inanely at @welinde


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Heartwarming Steel Reserve Super Bowl ad welcomes soldier home to an empty house, 40 oz beers

By Sgt B on Feb. 2, 2014

FORT STEWART, Ga. — Critics are hailing a new 60-second television advertisement from Steel Brewing Company that aired during the Super Bowl featuring the tear-jerking story of a soldier's return home from Afghanistan.

The commercial opens with the soldier stepping off a plane in the Atlanta airport, as others around him are met with wives, husbands, and families all crying and hugging each other.

After not seeing his parents who promised to pick him up, the single soldier turns his cellphone on to see a voicemail from his dad. He smiles and listens as his dad says, "Hey son, sorry we didn't tell you earlier but we're not going to be at the airport. We actually flew out to California to see your brother, he's been feeling homesick at college. Also, we didn't want to tell you while you were away but your dog died three months ago. Well, love you, son, bye."

The next scene shows the soldier taking a taxi to his one-bedroom apartment. He opens the door to reveal a dark and dusty room, not touched in months.

"Well, I'm home," the soldier says as he places his bags on the kitchen floor, then glancing towards the counter to see a stack of unpaid bills.

Next, he opens the refrigerator to reveal six 40 oz. Steel Reserve beers that he had purchased before his deployment.

He shotguns one beer, opens a second, then takes a seat in front of the television. Sipping from his beer, he opens the drawer on the coffee table revealing the remote and a .45 caliber pistol. He settles in, changing the channel to CSPAN, where politicians are seen talking about cutting veterans' benefits. He lights a cigarette and places the loaded pistol in his lap and sinks into the chair.

Taking a long drag off the cigarette, he stares blankly at the television. Finally, the camera draws back from the scene to reveal a superimposed Steel Reserve logo. Underneath the logo, the words "Welcome Home" are drawn in a soft and pleasing font.

"We just wanted to show that Steel Reserve supports our nation's soldiers, especially the lonely and depressed ones," said Angela Ackerman, a spokesperson for Steel Brewing Company.

While many have praised the ad, it has received mixed reviews from veteran's organizations and some civilians.

"While we are happy to have a company support soldiers, we think it would have been best if the ad would have been produced by Jim Beam," said Steven Herbert, a spokesperson for Veterans of Foreign Wars. "Maybe it's just the older generation of veterans, but that's what I went for when I got home from Vietnam in '72."

Cari Gordon, a civilian worker at Fort Stewart, praised the awareness that Steel Reserve has brought to single soldiers.

"I think it's great how they show that a single soldier has just as much waiting for him at home as someone with a family!"