It was interesting to read that NATO recently set out its Artificial Intelligence (AI) strategy. Given the significant progress in AI in recent years, it might be considered to be an overdue development, but none the less sets out useful principles for the development of AI for defence and security applications. Importantly, the NATO strategy recognises that, "due to its cross-cutting nature, AI will pose a broad set of international security challenges, affecting both traditional military capabilities and the realm of hybrid threats, and will likewise provide new opportunities to respond to them". Also of interest is the intent to have responsibility at the core of its outreach efforts.
I was also interested to see that the strategy document stresses the need for cooperation and suggests that NATO’s experience not only in operations, but also in trials, exercises, and experimentation provide several avenues in which Allies and NATO can test principles against intended use cases.
This could result in opportunities for both the traditional defence industry and also newcomers with expertise in AI to access this potentially significant market. Indeed, this is explicitly set out in the strategy document, which notes that "this includes engagement with start-ups, innovative small and medium enterprises, and academic researchers that either have not considered working on defence and security solutions, or simply find the adoption pathways too slow or restrictive for their business models".
However, as with any potential collaboration between parties, it can be beneficial to have your intellectual property (IP) in order before entering the agreement, to ensure that any background IP you may have is recognised. This even extends to the algorithms underpinning AI innovations where they are applied to a technical application or are adapted to a specific technical implementation. When properly applied, IP can be the best defence of your AI innovation!