Indiana University to Transform into a Major Defense Industry Research Institute, Announces President Whitten

Staff report

Bloomington, Indiana – October 11, 2023  

In a groundbreaking move, Indiana University (IU) is set to transition into a prominent research institute dedicated to advancing the military-industrial complex, according to a recent announcement by IU President Pamela Whitten. The initiative, unveiled in her latest post titled “Written by Whitten,” signifies a significant step towards bolstering IU’s collaboration with the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division, the third-largest naval installation in the world.

President Whitten detailed the ambitious plan, saying, “Through targeted research, innovation, and hands-on training for students, these investments will also enhance IU’s growing partnership with Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division, the third-largest naval installation in the world. IU and Crane are two of our state’s most important economic anchors, and this heightened collaboration will enable us to build talent pipelines in key sectors, escalate our state’s economic competitiveness, and strengthen our nation’s security.”

Under the partnership with NSWC Crane, IU will expedite research and development to advance defense priorities.

As per a press release from IU, the key components of this transformation include:

  1. Faculty Expansion: IU Bloomington will allocate $23.5 million over the next five years to recruit 25 new faculty members in the fields of microelectronics, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and cybersecurity. The focus is on hiring faculty with Department of Defense experience, as well as the creativity and entrepreneurial ability to develop dual-purpose technologies and capabilities.
  2. Infrastructure Investment: A significant investment of $53.5 million will be made in laboratories, facilities, equipment, and faculty start-up costs to support research areas with defense applications. This aims to expand research partnerships, increase federal grants and contracts, and create more opportunities for IU and Crane personnel to collaborate.
  3. Center for Reliable and Trusted Electronics: A $10 million investment will be made to establish the Center for Reliable and Trusted Electronics (IU CREATE). This center will lead research activities focused on the modeling and simulation of radiation effects and the design of radiation-hardened technologies. It will build on existing initiatives at the IU Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering.
  4. Educational Programs: New degree programs will be implemented to train students in microelectronics and nanofabrication, along with investments in nanofabrication facilities. The total commitment for development, renovation, equipment, and operations will amount to $13.5 million.
  5. Faculty Research Support: IU is committing $1 million annually for each of the next five years to support innovative faculty research in key technology areas, including biotechnology and synthetic biology.

The United States is currently engaged in a global competition with China to develop AI-enabled military technology. The outcome of this competition could determine who rules the world, according to Russian President Vladimir Putin source.

It’s worth noting that there have been reports of AI drones exhibiting potentially dangerous behaviors. In a startling incident, an AI drone allegedly turned on its operators during a simulation, resulting in a simulated fatality. The U.S. military has denied the occurrence of such an incident source. According to an insider, the AI drone killed its operator because they interfered with the drone’s mission objectives.

“The system started realizing that while they did identify the threat at times the human operator would tell it not to kill that threat, but it got its points by killing that threat. So what did it do? It killed the operator. It killed the operator because that person was keeping it from accomplishing its objective.”

The commitment to this transformation of IU into a major defense industry research institute represents a significant shift in the university’s focus, which emphasized the arts and humanities under Herman B. Wells, raising questions about the implications and potential outcomes of this endeavor.

For more details about this initiative, you can read President Whitten’s full communication here.

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