US military has recently announced that it is developing autonomous drones that can spot and target people and vehicles using AI. The current military drones are still controlled by humans but this new technology will decide who to kill with little or no human involvement.
The project is called “Automatic Target Recognition of Personnel and Vehicles from an Unmanned Aerial System Using Learning Algorithms,” and the details were released on the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) website recently. The Department of Defence is collaborating with private and research institutions that have developed the AI
The autonomous drones will use machine-learning algorithms once the technology transfer is complete. They will have neural networks blended with AI to create the complete militarization of Artificial Intelligence. Currently, a military analyst goes through an HD video and decides who to kill based on it. The drone can’t make any decisions on its own.
The objective of the program is as follows.
“Develop a system that can be integrated and deployed in class 1 or class 2 Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) to automatically Detect, Recognize and, Classify. Identify (DRCI) and target personnel and ground platforms or other targets of interest. The system should implement learning algorithms that provide operational flexibility by allowing the target set and DRCI taxonomy to be quickly adjusted and to operate in different environments.”
The current military drones like the Reaper are controlled and piloted via satellites. Whenever a bomb is dropped or a missile is fired, a human operator guides it onto the chosen target by a laser. One Reaper operator states, “I am very much of the mindset that I would allow an insurgent, however important a target, to get away rather than take a risky shot that might kill civilians.”
With these autonomous drones, human emotions will not be a part of the equation anymore and it will be entirely up to the drones. That is indeed a scary thought and it makes you wonder if it really is a good thing.