Mathias Kölsch is an academic and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in machine learning, artificial intelligence, and software systems. As an Associate Professor at the Naval Postgraduate School, he creates and teaches graduate programs and courses in computer science, machine learning, computer vision, and artificial intelligence for the Navy, DOD, and international students. Kolsch is the CEO of Foresight Health Solutions LLC, where he leads a team focused on AI-driven analytic foresight to predict and promote healthcare opportunities.
Before his current roles, Kolsch worked as a Senior Director of Software Engineering at Vuforia, a PTC Technology company in San Diego, where he played a pivotal role in building the widely popular Augmented Reality application, Vuforia Chalk. Throughout his career, Kolsch has also worked as a consultant, providing expertise in data science, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence to various small business customers. Kölsch holds a PhD in Computer Science from UC Santa Barbara.
I was intrigued by the opportunity to contribute to the school, the Computer Science Department, and the MOVES Institute, in particular, with my expertise in a topic that was not represented at the time: computer vision and image understanding, which are branches of machine learning and AI, especially as they relate to real-time human-computer interaction. As we know now, computer vision kickstarted the deep learning revolution in artificial intelligence in the early 2010s, and partaking in that revolution through courses that I taught at the NPS and student research projects in these technologies has been a wonderful and rewarding experience.
At the NPS, we are uniquely well positioned within the DOD and the Naval Enterprise to explore innovative technology and solutions, to pioneer visionary efforts, and to improve our Nation’s readiness for the accelerating pace in technology-induced changes. Nobody can predict what exactly the future will deal us, but we can prepare our workforce and processes for agility, for innovation, and for rapid adoption for whatever threats our Nation might face.
We as a Nation have to remain competitive yet our military is facing continually expanding responsibilities in newly contested areas – be they physical or cyber, anywhere around the globe, or even in space – with exploding costs and shrinking budgets. AI and machine learning can help with almost every aspect of our operations due to the many promising advantages you mentioned: improved efficiencies and reduced repetitiveness. AI can go a step further and bring a broader perspective to the table than a human could by themselves – take Advanced Chess as an example: the human-computer team can outperform any opponent who is either solely relying on the limited human processing power or the limited computer innovation and synthesis capabilities.
However, AI does not come without its own set of problems, from the cost of implementing a new solution to the fallacy of blindly trusting ChatGPT output. Our current and future leaders must understand the potential and the dangers of this increasingly powerful technology. They must anticipate and mitigate risks that are inherent to AI-involved systems such that their implementation and operation are not held up, thereby hampering agility and effectiveness.
The Naval Innovation Exchange’s AI Team’s current primary mission, as sponsored by ONR, is to accelerate the adoption of AI. We can have the broadest impact if we identify and remedy gaps in workforce capabilities and in adoption processes and learn about and disseminate outcomes of previous AI-involved projects. We are well positioned at the NPS through our close relationship with operational commands, headquarters, Joint efforts – particularly at the CDAO, through our students and their recent experiences, and the faculty’s technical expertise. Our plan is to accelerate a productive information exchange that quickly prepares the workforce and equips them with the knowledge to successfully unlock the potential of innovative AI applications throughout the enterprise and be able to apply them to daily operations.
The last decade has solidified the leadership role that industry plays with driving AI capabilities further and further, due to its access to data, compute power, and financial attractiveness for the technical workforce. Academia and the military sector no longer are drivers of this technology, and instead need to ride industry’s coat tails in whatever way possible. CRADAs facilitate this, and also provide an opportunity for industry to break into a market that has its own barriers and difficulties. It is a mutually beneficial relationship.
The Naval AI Summit is a gathering of the thought leaders and practical entrepreneurs in the Naval Enterprise, coming together to learn from experiences, to build solutions together, to bring about structural changes that accelerate AI projects within their realm and far beyond.