The United States has put artificial intelligence at the center of its defense strategy, with weapons that can identify targets and make decisions.
The small drone, with its six whirring rotors, swept past the replica of a Middle Eastern village and closed in on a mosque-like structure, its camera scanning for targets.
No humans were remotely piloting the drone, which was nothing more than a machine that could be bought on Amazon. But armed with advanced artificial intelligence software, it had been transformed into a robot that could find and identify the half-dozen men carrying replicas of AK-47s around the village and pretending to be insurgents.
As the drone descended slightly, a purple rectangle flickered on a video feed that was being relayed to engineers monitoring the test. The drone had locked onto a man obscured in the shadows, a display of hunting prowess that offered an eerie preview of how the Pentagon plans to transform warfare.
Almost unnoticed outside defense circles, the Pentagon has put artificial intelligence at the center of its strategy to maintain the United States’ position as the world’s dominant military power. It is spending billions of dollars to develop what it calls autonomous and semiautonomous weapons and to build an arsenal stocked with the kind of weaponry that until now has existed only in Hollywood movies and science fiction, raising alarm among scientists and activists concerned by the implications of a robot arms race.
The Defense Department is designing robotic fighter jets that would fly into combat alongside manned aircraft. It has tested missiles that can decide what to attack, and it has built ships that can hunt for enemy submarines, stalking those it finds over thousands of miles, without any help from humans.
“If Stanley Kubrick directed ‘Dr. Strangelove’ again, it would be about the issue of autonomous weapons,” said Michael Schrage, a research fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management.
Defense officials say the weapons are needed for the United States to maintain its military edge over China, Russia and other rivals, who are also pouring money into similar research (as are allies, such as Britain and Israel). The Pentagon’s latest budget outlined $18 billion to be spent over three years on technologies that included those needed for autonomous weapons.
“China and Russia are developing battle networks that are as good as our own. They can see as far as ours can see; they can throw guided munitions as far as we can,” said Robert O. Work, the deputy defense secretary, who has been a driving force for the development of autonomous weapons. “What we want to do is just make sure that we would be able to win as quickly as we have been able to do in the past.”
Just as the Industrial Revolution spurred the creation of powerful and destructive machines like airplanes and tanks that diminished the role of individual soldiers, artificial intelligence technology is enabling the Pentagon to reorder the places of man and machine on the battlefield the same way it is transforming ordinary life with computers that can see, hear and speak and cars that can drive themselves.
The new weapons would offer speed and precision unmatched by any human while reducing the number — and cost — of soldiers and pilots exposed to potential death and dismemberment in battle. The challenge for the Pentagon is to ensure that the weapons are reliable partners for humans and not potential threats to them.
The Latest on: Terminator Conundrum
via Google News
The Latest on: Terminator Conundrum
- The 100 Best Free Movies to Stream (July 2021)on July 1, 2021 at 5:01 pm
Monthly expenses for streaming services can add up quickly. Fortunately for movie-lovers, there are plenty of films streaming for free—and legally—across a variety of sites. These range from ...
- A satellite's impending fiery demise shows how important it is to keep space cleanon June 27, 2021 at 5:16 am
The Dragracer program's Alchemy satellite is testing the efficacy of Terminator Tape, a box about the size of a DVD case that contains more than 220 feet of a folded-up film with an aluminum coating.
- Robots That Killon June 22, 2021 at 5:00 pm
This episode lays out the risks they pose and the controversy around them. The Terminator, a walking, talking, fully autonomous machine designed to hunt and kill humans. Scary stuff. But ...
- Donovan Mitchell’s Arc May Just Be Beginningon June 16, 2021 at 7:13 am
“Every game, it’s a conundrum,” Jazz assistant coach Alex ... and Liam Neeson are a dying breed The Oral History of ‘Terminator 2: Judgment Day’ Three decades ago, James Cameron, Arnold ...
- Euro 2020: Can Portugal’s Latest Golden Generation Defend Their Euro Crown?on June 14, 2021 at 5:06 am
Aside from knowing how and when to integrate these starlets into the senior squad, the major conundrum facing coach ... The Oral History of ‘Terminator 2: Judgment Day’ Three decades ago ...
- TV guide: 18 of the best shows to watch this week, beginning tonighton June 12, 2021 at 11:11 pm
the British government grappled with a fierce conundrum. The “Irish Question” had plagued parliament for most of the 19th century but took on a new urgency as calls for Irish independence grew ...
- How ‘Terminator’ defines our fear of robots after 30 yearson May 30, 2021 at 5:48 am
Works like Terminator not only give voice to these ... You don’t need to stock your bomb shelter quite yet; it is a conundrum researchers and even the military takes seriously.
- Arnold Schwarzenegger to make scripted TV debut in new Netfix serieson May 19, 2021 at 7:35 pm
The ’Terminator’ star will also be working as an executive producer on the series and has said he can’t wait for fans to see what he’s been cooking up. He said in a statement: "Fans from ...
- Watch The Making Of: Terminatoron February 13, 2021 at 5:36 pm
The Making Of: Terminator is a 2006 documentary with a runtime of 21 minutes. It has received poor reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.6. Where to Watch The Making ...
via Bing News