Defending the Future with Keoki Jackson (Lockheed) | Disrupt SF (Day 1)
10:36PM Sep 5, 2018
Please welcome to the stage the Chief Technical Officer at Lockheed Martin, Dr. Kiki Jackson, and your moderator, Matt burns. Big round of applause.
Dr. Jackson, thank you for joining us today. Hey, it's great to be here. I mean, personally, I wish Maryland was here.
But you seem like a nice guy, right? You know, Maryland center regrets, and she sends me, so I'll do my best to fill in here.
Well, it's great. And it's interesting, because Lockheed Martin has been a pillar of Silicon Valley for generations. And we brought you here to talk about that, and how to work how startups to work with you, and artificial intelligence and space programs. But there's something that everybody wants to know up front. And that's, that's about space force, right? So are you going to put Trump in space?
Look, I've been a space night from the very big getting the reason I'm at Lockheed Martin. So I wanted to do big things in space. And we're always looking for great opportunities to take the next leap. So like you said, we've been doing that for 60 years, at Sure. Silicon Valley, we started to our Advanced Technology Center, and I go into the lobby, and this is just off page Mill Road, what you'll see there's a picture of our facility and around that orchards and field. So things have obviously changed a little bit page mill, but we've been excited to be leading on the forefront of space technology from that time,
I see you didn't answer the question if you're gonna put Trump in space, but we'll let that go. You've been here for generations. Like I said, Where do you see Lockheed Martin's role in Silicon Valley? Yeah,
and this is where it's really important for us to be here, you think about what Lockheed Martin does. And I talked a little bit about space. But the end of the day, we're about solving some of the world's toughest challenges. So it might be putting people on the way to Mars, it also might be taking a commercial aircraft enabling and go twice the speed, speed of sound without making a sonic boom. So these are the kinds of challenges that we're about about the mission. And when we look at what it takes to do these, it's the people here, it's the companies here that bring the ideas that allow us to continually reinvent the technologies that will take us over that next hurdle. In 2014, Lockheed Martin started aggressively investing and acquiring startups what caused that change in 2014? Well, actually, we've had our Lockheed Martin ventures fun now for over 10 years. I think Chris Moran's out here actually in the front row. So Chris, our venture fund, it's a $200 million fund. And we actually just this year doubled the size of it. And the intent is really to go out there and find the commercial companies, the commercial technologies that offer ideas that can scale while leveraging the commercial market enhance application into many of the defense or other high end applications that we have. And so we're using that we doubled the size of it. We're actually using our efforts today focused in areas like sensor technology, artificial intelligence, and machine learning autonomy and things like RF and cyber technologies. So we're eager. We're out there looking for new companies and new ideas. we're eager to work with them. Everybody ready? What? What's Chris's email address?
Chris? I'll let you send that out at the appropriate time. They're all right. What, what's the what's the best way to get ahold of Lockheed Martin? If you're a startup? Yeah,
so I think one thing you can do, we've actually got our booth right here at TechCrunch. And we've got representatives from the venture fund there and eager to talk to folks. You can also go online, Lockheed Martin calm, and from there, you can navigate to Lockheed Martin ventures, or just do a search on Lockheed Martin venture. So it's pretty straightforward. You were walking around startup alley earlier you said, what sort of technologies are you shopping for right now? Yeah, again, some of the things maybe I'll just give some examples of companies that we've invested in recently that will maybe set the stage and so one last year, we made actually a second investment, a company called peloton, and this is a company that is actually doing platoon in convoy of large trucks. The whole idea is, hey, if you put these in a convoy, you can save a ton of gas and a ton of money by doing these convoys of trucks. And so the sensing the software, and the various technologies that make that happen are interesting to us. Now, just recently, we invest in another company here in the valley called mythic and mythic is a it's a hardware company, but they're developing very high end but low power AI processors. And so those are just a couple of examples of things that we're interested in. Does Lockheed Martin ever acquire company to keep it out of the hands of a foreign entity? Well, there's a lot of there's a lot of nuance around that. But typically, we don't talk too much about what we're doing and mergers and acquisitions. We're really looking for the companies that can advance our missions and the capabilities that we need, whether it's undersea, the far reaches of space, or anything in between. I guess the question I'm trying to ask here, then, is it does Lockheed Martin see its role in protecting national interests? Well, Lockheed Martin, you know, a big part of our the largest part of our business is absolutely around national security, the things that we are known for, we protect lives, we advanced science, we explore the universe in our solar system. And so yes, we're absolutely interested in those technologies than it can advance those national security missions. And another big element of what we do, and this goes to I talked about the interest in cyber security, doing those things that are required to protect the security of those technologies, and keep them out of that hands of adversaries are malicious actors.
So the answer is yes,
sort of something like anyway. So moving on, the Pentagon wants to buy artificial intelligence technology, and they're willing to pay a lot of money for it. But these folks are used to working with Google and Facebook and selling to the Pentagon is wildly different. Briefly, what advice would you give to a startup that's looking to work with the Pentagon? Yeah, and this is a great question. And one thing I'll know is we work with about 400 different companies today, here in Silicon Valley, we spend on the order of $75 million a year with companies here in the Bay Area. And so we see a lot of excitement. There are a lot of folks who are interested in working on these kinds of Michigan missions with us, protecting our national security, protecting the lives of the folks who are in harm's way, a couple of areas that I'd like to mention, I already talked a little bit about Lockheed Martin ventures. And so this is a great opportunity, not only for us to provide capital, but it provides access to 50,000 or more engineers and scientists across Lockheed Martin, across our aeronautics space, and other businesses. And so we can provide not only interesting and hard problems that have direct customer relevance, but we can provide the entree to some of those mission partners and customers. A couple other things I'd like to point out, we lead what we call the Silicon Valley Alliance. And this is actually a company where we work with, or we work with small companies together with the government to bring government research and development dollars to those companies. And so we've we've worked with 50 companies over the last five years, we've actually brought $15 million together from government r, amp D, to support new projects with those companies. And the third way that I'd like to point out, we're very strong in the mentor protege projects with the Department of Defense in the US government. And so I'll just give an example. We worked recently with a company really interesting technology. And the application that we came up with was noise cancelling on the deck of an aircraft carrier. So those are the kinds of opportunities where people have an idea or a technology but don't know how to take it to a mission can come through Lockheed Martin to and that's really interesting. And working in the defense sector is different than working in the commercial sector. So what are the expectations that a startup should have? Is it slower is a faster has a more expensive, where they get more money, what are the expectations, you would tell these people when they when they have a startup, and they want to work with you or the Pentagon? Yeah, and the way I put it is, you know, every customers a little bit different. And so learning how to work with those customers is obviously critical, no matter what kind of business you're in. One thing that I want to point out, though, is the kinds of problems that we work on, typically, their mission critical, often human life is at stake. And often there is a very high bar for performance, as well as an expectation of precision, just giving example. So we recently put Juno spacecraft in orbit around Jupiter. That's after a five year journey, 1.8 billion miles traveled, think about that, and inserted into orbit there around Jupiter within a second what was predicted before the mission started. So that's the scale and scope and challenges some of the things we're working on
it and the human life. Part of it is interesting, Surely you're aware of when Google pulled out a project management after thousands of Google employees signed a petition saying that Google cross the line in developing artificial intelligence that could be used for the purpose of war, they felt it was over the line, the Lockheed Martin builds these technologies all the time, whereas Lockheed Martin's line
Yeah, and you bring up a really important point. And then the Department of Defense has laid out policies and directives around the use of autonomy for weapons systems, and the bottom line is that the human is in control the battlespace and so when Lockheed Martin works on these kinds of systems, ultimately we're doing we're using technologies like autonomy and artificial intelligence to improve human capacity to enable the humans to focus on the things that they're particularly good at while leaving some of the lower level details to the machines. And ultimately, that allows the human and effectively to direct and control weapon systems in a more strategic way. And but at the end of the day, the human is in charge that doesn't answer the question, Where is Lockheed Martin's line? Do you have an ethics board that drives you artificial intelligence development. So first of all, we have a very strong ethics program. And we've actually that's something that we have shared with many companies. It's something that we're pretty excited about. But as far as artificial intelligence, we adhere very closely to our governments rules. We do a lot of testing. And we do a lot of systems engineering and upfront architecture and design work to ensure that they operate the way we're intent their intended. Then, of course, we we take the test data and the lessons learned. And we continually integrate those to make sure we improve our products so that they not only meet mission needs for our customers, but they obey the rules that our customers have set out. Our previous speaker here talked about the importance of trust in AI. And I thought that was a great point to be made. This is actually one of the hottest research areas for Lockheed Martin, in terms of AI is trust, verification and validation. Lockheed Martin's became the biggest defense contractor in the world. Because you have developed this technology over and over again, what would you say to a startup founder that's grappling with the thought that their technology might be used for defensive capabilities. But first of all,
I've been very excited to work on a number of important programs, brands that have impact, not just to the entire US but to the world. I just give an example of GPS. So there's a military initiated program, but it provides life saving and day to day capability to people around the world. And for maybe I'll just use stick with the space team here, if you think about it. So you get up in the morning, you probably check the weather that's comes from something like it goes our satellite, you're going to go and turn on the news that's been funneled down to you by a by a communication satellite that Lockheed Martin bill, then you're going to say, hey, maybe I need to process and payments online or something like that. The timing is provided by the GPS system. And then I on your way to work you get in a lift or an Uber again, powered essentially by the GPS navigation time. This is all before you have a cup of coffee. And so these are technologies that have true impact for the good to the world. Now, as far as the fence, I mean, as I said, Lockheed Martin focuses on products that protects lives, as well as advancing national security and our hope. And our belief is that there are companies here and individuals here that Sarah share that sense of mission, that sense of purpose and are eager to work on these things that not only save lives and protect nations, but enable the safety and safe return of people who are out there every day in harm's way.
There's a national security and go here to with artificial intelligence. The New York Times reported last week, the secretary defence Jim Mattis believes that the US is artificial intelligence program is lagging behind China's is he right?
Well, I think you saw today that there's an awful lot of exciting stuff going on. And clearly there's a ton of work around the world in this area.
The applications of AI are really boundless. And we do see huge and investments in China, but not just in China around the world. And so we think that this is an important area for the US to continue to invest heavily in and invest with purpose and invest strategically, because it is going to be important, not just to our national security, but our economic. So what is the US lagging behind other countries? I think it depends a lot on the specific areas. My take is that the US continues to create the most dynamic advances the most important technologies, but this is absolutely a race and it's something that we need to be focused on both within the national defense sphere, but across the across the economy.
And it seems that in artificial intelligence, that is not the only race that's going on. There's a new space race. And that's, it's very exciting. There's clearly a renewed interest in space travel, thanks in part to billionaires, you know, the Elon Musk, and Jeff Bezos, and Richard Branson.
What's your pitch to rocket scientists? Why should a rocket scientist come work for Lockheed Martin rather than SpaceX?
That's it. So this is, first of all, let me say, it is an incredibly exciting time to be in space. It's the spaces The first reason I came to Lockheed Martin, it's one of the reasons I'm still here. But
it's not just about how you get to space. It's also and probably most important, what you do in space. So I gave you a series of examples there of the things that are enabling people around the world every day.
Yeah, but you haven't put a convertible in space.
Yeah, but way sex does that. But we've put 11 missions to Mars already, we've been involved in every mission that NASA has sent to Mars. In fact, we're actually sending our our next Mars mission is in flight right now, the insight spacecraft, and that's going to be there on Mars, actually Cyber Monday this year, this November. And so those are just a few examples of what we've done and what we're doing now. But looking ahead, let me give you the example the Orion space craft. And so this is the only spacecraft and this is really designed for deep space, long duration exploration by humans. And that's the spacecraft that ultimately NASA is going to use to take humans to the moon, back to the moon, but out beyond, and hopefully to Mars in the not too distant future. So we've been there, and we're looking forward to go in there with people. You guys have a lot of other programs. And briefly, Lockheed Martin has a new partnership with the drone racing League,
right. You want to tell us about that?
Well, Lockheed Martin have talked a lot about space. But Lockheed Martin has been on the forefront of flight and redefining and disrupting flight for the last hundred years. And that's whether it's the the very fastest airplane, the highest flying airplane, the most maneuverability, the greatest stealth. And so now we're actually really excited to announce a new challenge. And this is in the area of applying AI and autonomy to high speed flight. We call it alpha pilot. This is a partnership with Lockheed Martin, Nvidia and the drone racing league. And what we're doing is actually issuing a challenge out there, everybody in this room, but people around the world design the AI technology that will allow a an autonomous drone without human intervention intervention to beat the best AI, or the best drone racing pilots from around the world. Many of you probably familiar with drone racing league. So this is the this is the phrase, the pinnacle, right? These are drones that are 80 miles an hour, they're going through incredibly complex and dynamic 3d forces, the challenges take something and put that computing power at the edge and do it in such a way that it can beat those human pilots who trained months or years to get to that level of skill. So you can learn more about this challenge online. Lockheed Martin calm No, no, no, it's on
TechCrunch. As soon as john Russell over there hits publish, it's, it's on TechCrunch.
Alright, so you'll be able to find it from here. And let me just say this, we're going to be putting out there a we're $2 million in prizes, the grand prize winner winner win a million dollars. And so the challenges out there, if you believe that AI and autonomy are going to change the world, we want you to be part of inventing it with Lockheed Martin. Well, great. We only have a few minutes left here. And I think it's really interesting. A lot of these companies are building things. And a lot of the bigger companies have programs they they jokingly called Skunk Works your Lockheed Martin, you have the other real Skunk Works,
right? So in your the CTO of this company, you helped develop technology, how can a technology company replicate, the success of the Skunk Works program
gets funny. And so we're actually celebrating now 70 or 75th anniversary of the Skunk Works, which is hard to believe. And for people who don't know the Skunk Works, this is the advanced development programs arm of our aeronautics organization. Things like the YouTube spy play in the ASR. 71 More recently, something we call auto g cast. This is a technology that if a f 16 pilot becomes incapacitated hygiene it takes over and puts the file in into a safe configuration. So these are just a few of the things we're working on. And so Kelly Johnson, who is the legendary founder of the Skunk Works, he wants said, it's not the technologies that we develop, but the way that we develop them. And he had a set of 14 rules. And I'll encourage anybody go to Lockheed Martin's website or anywhere out there and search on Kelly Johnson's rules. But there's some really important ones about developing technology, you know, and so use small, highly talented, highly motivated teams give a lot of empowerment and accountability, full full authority to the program manager Do it fast. And those are those are examples that are have become part of the lifeblood, literally, of Lockheed Martin, the innovation capacity of Lockheed Martin, but we think apply to all the kinds of companies and all the event individuals that were eager to work with here. When does the Lockheed Martin developed technology and Skunk Works and when does it develop it in a different department? What makes it special enough to go into Skunk Works? Yeah, you can almost use skunk works as an idea rather than a place, right. And so ATP is actually not just in Palmdale, but it's across all of Aeronautics. But here in the Bay Area, we have our Advanced Technology Center in Palo Alto, I'll just give you a couple of things that that we're excited about, you could say are in that Skunk Works vein. So first of all, we're excited about exploring the universe. And we do a lot of things in very harsh space environments. And so example, we're out there with a program called Iris. We're, we're observing the sun every day and giving us insight in the behavior of, you know, our most important neighbor, you might say, but
understanding the heavens, you think back to Galileo polishing, you know, lenses, and then we built bigger lenses and mirrors
and ultimately get to a point where, like, hey, that's really not practical to send these massive things into space. And so we have technologists, we have a technology called spider where there are reimagining the telescope and saying, hey, what if we did a massive array, flat array of tiny lenses, and used interfering metric techniques to build rebuild a digital image and do that in a tiny fraction of the size and weight that a normal telescope would take? So those are the kinds of things that we're doing in our technology endeavors to reinvent space. And that's just an example of how we're doing things across Lockheed Martin very,
we have we have three minutes left, I have I have to ask you about recent news defense, one reported last week that Lockheed is developing and picturing the US Air Force a hybrid f 22 and F 35, is that correct?
I don't want to comment too much on that particular story. But I'll just say the F 20 in the F 35 bring together some of the most incredible capabilities in terms of stealth, in terms of supersonic performance in terms of operations, and very adverse environments. And then I'll say, the ability to bring together incredible data from across the electromagnetic spectrum. put that all together and make the pilot a Mission Manager. And so those are the technologies that we like to bring together and we'd like to bring together for future customer.
My goodness, You sure did say bring together a lot there. And sounds like you're developing a hybrid almost f 22 enough. 35 so hypothetically, if you were developing an f 22 f 35 hybrid with the F 35 stealth technology, advanced aeronautics and the F 22 bigger range, what what would that look like? Well,
every customer has a little bit of a different needs. So I don't want to speculate too much. But we're continuing to push the survivability the effectiveness of these platforms against an ever increasing array of adversarial threats out there. And so this is why Lockheed Martin invest 1.2 billion or more a year in R, amp D. This is why we're going after technologies that range from AI, to advanced RF to things like quantum information sciences, because these are the things that are going to change the nature of these products. Reports suggest that Lockheed Martin's about to close a massive order with the Pentagon for F 35, what guarantees Have you given the Pentagon that these will be delivered on time. So we work very closely with our customers on this. And, you know, every order is a little bit different. But I'll just say that, that Lockheed Martin at the end of the day, we're about delivering for our mission customers and delivering mission success. And I also want to note, in particular for the audience here, these are incredibly hard mission challenges. And the reason I do got into this business and I think the reason why people are here today is because a, they want to work on really hard things and be they believe that technology really can change the world for the better. And so you kind of laughed, I said, bringing things together. But I mean, that's why I'm here today. Because we are looking for the people, the companies, the ideas that can help us in these challenges, whether it's protecting human lives, whether it's advancing science, whether it's building the next autonomous helicopter, or in fact, you know, taken us outside of our Earth moon system. We're looking for the opportunity to continue that 60 year history in Silicon Valley with the best and brightest here today, like building enough 20 to 35 hybrid. If anybody wants to do that. Look, we hire thousands of engineers a year we are looking for the best and brightest. And so I'd say, come and talk to us and we'd love to get you involved in a project like that. Great. Thank you very much. I appreciate your time.