Michael Griffin, Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering told the Future of War 2018 conference held in Washington, DC, that the miliary was keen to weaponise AI before the Russians and Chinese did it.
Griffin said: “There might be an artificial intelligence arms race, but we’re not yet in it. I think our adversaries—and they are our adversaries—understand very well the possible future utility of machine learning, and I think it’s time we did as well.”
Many AI researchers are already worried about the military use of the technology. Google employees recently signed an open letter of protest to their CEO after the company’s involvement in a US DoD drone program was revealed. But when it comes to the almighty dollar, US corporations know which side their ethics rest.
Based on Griffin's comments, and what we know is already happening inside big companies it looks like a robot arms race has begun. AI has lots of military uses from data gathering and analysis to developing more sophisticated autonomous systems. Hopefully, they will not repeat the mistakes of the fictional US military in the movie Wargames and allow an AI computer control over the launch codes. It is probably better to play a nice game of chess instead.