(Bloomberg) -- Antoine Bordes, former director of artificial intelligence research at Meta Platforms Inc., is joining Berlin-based defense tech startup Helsing, as European NATO members commit more funding to their armed forces following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

“The outbreak of war in Ukraine was a big driver” to join Helsing, said Bordes, who spent nine years at Meta and was the company’s most senior AI expert in Europe. “We shouldn’t take for granted that democracies are here to stay.”

Bordes will be based in France as vice president for artificial intelligence and help develop cognitive technologies for defense platforms, according to Helsing co-founder and co-Chief Executive Officer Gundbert Scherf.

“The generative AI boom, or hype or whatever you want to call it, is also trickling into defense,” Scherf said in an interview. “We’re seeing elements of AI also in use in Ukraine. Importantly for us, we feel from that a real reinforced sense of mission and a sense of urgency.”

AI is increasingly being integrated into weapons and military systems. Helsing is seeking to apply cognitive technology to help automate tactical, operational and strategic decision-making.   

The startup is targeting North Atlantic Treaty Organization members in the EU, which have boosted defense spending since the Russian invasion. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced a €100 billion ($107 billion) plan to modernize his country’s armed forces last year and pledged to raise spending on the military to at least 2% of gross domestic product annually. 

Helsing was founded in 2021 and is backed by Spotify Technology SA founder Daniel Ek’s Prima Materia investment firm. It supplies AI and software capabilities to defense contractors, partnering with companies including Saab AB, Rheinmetall AG and Airbus SE. 

(Updates with details of Helsing’s business in fifth paragraph.)

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