The race for advanced artificial intelligence is heating up, with several countries vying for the top position, says Robert Work, former Deputy Defense Secretary.


In 2014, former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel theorized that AI would set the course for future armed conflict, and several world powers seem to agree.


The military could implement AI to create more dexterous and practical training systems, data-collecting surveillance programs, hyper-effective facial recognition, life-like automated combat, and war games.


The government analysis group Work and Govini told CNN on Wednesday that with AI competition rising in China and Russia, the US has to step up or “fall victim to it”. In particular, the Pentagon and White House need to create a plan to increase the amount of research and development on AI technology and decide how to take advantage of AI in armed conflict.


According to Work, much of the decision-making will come down to autonomy.


Although some oppose autonomous AI, Work says that the US currently is working on primarily “narrow AI”, which still allows for human control. The analylist compared the tech to Iron Man rather than the Terminator.


One AI technology that the US has created, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, uses sensors to analyze data and send it to the pilot. Work names this a “perfect example of human-machine collaboration” but doesn’t believe the US is doing enough.


Meanwhile, Russia and China are advancing by leaps and bounds.


Russian President Putin noted that whichever country has the best AI will dominate the world. The Russian military has already created drones, army cars, robots, and smart missiles using AI.


In China, the government announced that it will make AI its highest development priority. It plans to create technology that has both military and civilian applications.


Work and Govini’s report finds that the US’ Department of Defense must spend more time and money on the Cloud and “advanced computing” technology if it is to keep up.