U.S. Military Invests in Artificial Intelligence to Fight North Korea's Nuclear-Capable Missiles

The U.S. military is tripling the budget of a covert research program that aims to develop artificial intelligence to track missiles coming from North Korea and other adversaries, according to reports.

Amid growing concerns about a nuclear strike by adversaries such as North Korea and Russia, the U.S. Department of Defense has been investing a substantial part of its budget into developing new technologies for detecting nuclear-capable missiles in time to shoot them down, Reutersreported Tuesday. The technology, which has not yet been developed, would use satellite imagery and other data to locate and track missiles more accurately than a human could.

The news about the budget comes just days after Google announced it would not renew a contract to work on the Pentagon's Maven Project, which uses artificial intelligence to identify objects recorded by drones. The company decided to pull out of the project because employees were concerned that the technology would be used to wage war. Around a dozen employees resigned in protest.

The Pentagon, however, has argued that the technology is needed to keep the country safe. Defense Secretary James Mattis also told Congress in April that the U.S. plans to develop technology that would allow it to shoot down North Korean missiles before they launch. That would include drones armed with lasers that could deter missiles as soon as they are detected. Nevertheless, some experts said that technology won't be available for another 10 to 15 years. It's unclear what the timeframe is for the development of the artificial intelligence the Department of Defense is investing in.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration is engaging in talks with North Korea to persuade the country to give up its nuclear weapons. Trump will meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore next week to discuss the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.