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Dr. Will Roper: The Urgent Need for The Pentagon to Unlock AI’s Potential

Posted Oct 18
# TransformX 2022
# Keynote
# AI Policy & Governance
# AI in National Security
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SPEAKER
Dr. Will Roper
Dr. Will Roper
Dr. Will Roper
Distinguished Professor @ Georgia Tech

The Honorable Dr. Will Roper is currently a Distinguished Professor at Georgia Tech, focusing on technology impacting national security. He is a board member and advisor of numerous startups and investment firms, a Senior Advisor at McKinsey, and Honorary Group Captain in the U.K. Royal Air Force.

Will previously served as Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, leading over $60 billion of annual technology development and operations for the U.S. Air Force and Space Force. He previously founded the Pentagon’s Strategic Capabilities Office, growing this once-classified innovation office to $1.6 billion annually. He began his career at MIT as the chief futurist for the Missile Defense Agency.

During fifteen years of national security service, Will received the Pentagon’s highest awards for public service. He holds a bachelor’s and master’s in physics from Georgia Tech and doctorate in mathematics from Oxford University, where he studied string theory as a Rhodes Scholar.

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The Honorable Dr. Will Roper is currently a Distinguished Professor at Georgia Tech, focusing on technology impacting national security. He is a board member and advisor of numerous startups and investment firms, a Senior Advisor at McKinsey, and Honorary Group Captain in the U.K. Royal Air Force.

Will previously served as Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, leading over $60 billion of annual technology development and operations for the U.S. Air Force and Space Force. He previously founded the Pentagon’s Strategic Capabilities Office, growing this once-classified innovation office to $1.6 billion annually. He began his career at MIT as the chief futurist for the Missile Defense Agency.

During fifteen years of national security service, Will received the Pentagon’s highest awards for public service. He holds a bachelor’s and master’s in physics from Georgia Tech and doctorate in mathematics from Oxford University, where he studied string theory as a Rhodes Scholar.

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SUMMARY

Dr. Will Roper is a former U.S. Air Force and Space Force executive; he has spent his career implementing advanced technology—including machine learning and digital engineering, in both the government and private sectors. While he has seen first-hand that the Pentagon has made great strides in procuring advanced technology, Dr. Roper describes the Pentagon not as digitally native but as preferring to say behind the innovation curve. He suggests that the Pentagon needs to invest in digital infrastructure to unlock the most powerful machine learning capabilities on the battlefield. Dr. Roper also lays out a roadmap for applying digital engineering and simulation to build advanced, battle-ready hardware more quickly.

As AI and machine learning advance rapidly, losing the innovation war will have drastic consequences for America's future. Dr. Roper calls for urgent investment in digital technologies to ensure that the United States stays ahead of other superpowers on the battlefield and beyond. Dr. Will Roper is currently a Distinguished Professor at Georgia Tech, focusing on technology that impacts national security. He previously served as Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, leading over $60 billion of annual technology development and operations for the U.S. Air Force and Space Force.

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