The open release of ChatGPT, the natural language processing tool that has taken the world by storm, is an underappreciated boon for AI-oriented defense companies. With AI exploding into the public consciousness, companies that once struggled to explain their machine-learning, national security tools can operate with the confidence that their value proposition is now more intuitively understood by the both the general public and by government agencies that don’t deal in national security.
This sudden increase in societal awareness of AI-driven contributions is changing the way taxpayers, policymakers, and investors approach high-tech national security ventures. Companies that have long toiled away at developing trusted algorithms can now build on their record of success —rather than spend time and resources trying to explain what their sophisticated technologies do for obscure and oft-classified corners of the national security world.
Case Study: Primer Technologies
Primer Technologies, an AI/Machine Learning technology firm specializing in AI-powered data analysis, is a perfect example of how companies with a record of AI success can benefit from the surge in interest in AI. With a foot in both defense and commercial markets, Primer just announced a successful Series D round with a first close of $69 million.
For sophisticated investors, a fundraising round from a company like Primer makes sense. Primer has a big book of business that, before ChatGPT, a broad array of investors might have struggled to understand. With untalkative government clients like the United States Special Operations Command, the United States Air Force Air Combat Command and various intelligence agencies, explaining just what Primer brought to the table was something of a challenge for company executives.
Having ChatGPT “break the ice”, it is far more easy for the public to understand how “automating manual tasks and workflows” allow workers to be more productive and apply their “unique expertise to find the advantage hidden in their data.”
Mission planning, asset tracking and watch standing are all un-descriptive, relatively undefined concepts that can cover a lot of ground. But with ChatGPT showing the way, both the company and their government clients can reveal a bit more, helping investors understand what Primer’s software tools offer.
Flight planning for the Air Force
Take Primer’s Air Force work. With ChatGPT in the public eye, Primer can now explain how it pulls in voluminous paper charts, maps, weather forecasts and notices to airmen, and then quickly spits the data back out in the form of a refined mission flight plan, offering busy pilots the data they need to refine their transits.
Rather than spend time painstakingly detailing a flight path, Air Force pilots can focus on avoiding or overcoming obstacles to their mission.
The new openness around AI and machine learning lets Primer explain how it sits at the center of a primary Air Force mission. With the Air Force focusing on rapid shifts from established home-bases to dispersed operations in austere airfields, Primer tells Air Force logisticians exactly what they need to bring, matching available assets on the destination site, and leveraging information on spares and expected consumables consumption given the mission ahead.
Analysis for the Intelligence Community
ChatGPT has also made it far easier for Primer to detail what it does for the intelligence community, monitoring rapidly evolving events, and then baking those events into a constantly evolving mission-relevant summary, twenty-four hours a day, year around. With AI in the public consciousness, it is far easier for outsiders to understand why the intelligence community is using Primer to translate, summarize and highlight the U.S. government’s vast trove of communications and other information.
Primer is also using proprietary AI tools to track a toxic array of misinformation, disinformation and mal-information for the U.S. Special Operations Command, helping the Command detect, analyze and determine the potential impact of adversarial narratives.
All of these projects, now that they are better understood by investors, add value, giving the company a far firmer foundation to pursue opportunities outside of the secretive government contracting world. And with the added funds, Primer will continue to build on things to “accelerate R&D of generative AI and cutting-edge machine learning tools, grow its talent, and continue to mature its product offering.”
Today, investors are racing to profit from what observers are calling the great AI “gold rush,” but there’s also a risk that the market gets distorted. The tech-heavy NASDAQ has already jumped almost 30% this year, and, at some point, emergent AI “unicorns” will fall back to earth. But those companies—like Primer—that have a solid book of business and strong record of past success will be far better positioned to ride out turbulence, and to grow into the next big thing in tech.
The defense space is one area to watch, and Primer Technologies is a good example of it.
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