Published in AI

US military trialling autonomous F-16 fighter

by on29 May 2023

Terminator coming

The US military "is now testing an autonomous F-16 fighter jet, and in simulated dogfighting, the AI already crushes trained human pilots.

The move is being seen as a general shift to machine-based soldiers, but apparently, it is not the only one.

Sikorsky Aircraft, the military contractor that makes the Blackhawk helicopter has built an experimental chopper controlled by taps on a tablet computer.

The company said that while the human thinks they are operating they are only giving the machine general instructions which the Blackhawk makes happen.

The Sikorsky representative suggests it could avoid a "Blackhawk down" scenario where more human soldiers have to be sent into harm's way to try to rescue their comrades.

DARPA, the Defense Department's innovative lab has also been developing autonomous offroad buggies, unmanned undersea vehicles, and swarms and swarms of drones."

A CBS reporter interviewed DARPA programme manager Stuart Young if we're headed for the future with Terminator-like fighting machines.

He said that while that was always a problem, it is pretty likely that adversaries are thinking about that thing and it is better not to be on the receiving end of a technological surprise.

CBS also spoke to former Army Ranger Paul Scharre, who later worked for the Defence Department on autonomous weapons, who says already available commercial technologies could create autonomous weapons today. "All it takes is a few lines of code to take the human out of the loop simply."

Scharre is not all doom and gloom. He points out in combat between nations, robot soldiers will legally need to follow the law of war, and might do so better than emotional or fatigued humans. He does worry about the eventual marriage of advanced robots and military AI that becomes smarter and faster than we are."

He warned that keeping humans in the “loop” was not viable in the long term.

“A human looking at a target, saying 'Yep, that's a viable target,' pressing a button every single time? That would be ideal. I'm not sure that's going to be the case,” Scharre said.


Last modified on 29 May 2023
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