China Is Making AI Enabled Nuclear Submarines That Can Think For Themselves


(Source: South China Morning Post)

China is currently working on a project that involves updating old computer systems on nuclear submarines with artificial intelligence, making them self-thinking nuclear submarines. A scientist involved with the project said that it was to enhance the potential thinking skills of commanding officers and to reduce the chances of mistakes.

Making self-thinking nuclear submarines would help China’s navy battles under the sea and will also aid in carrying AI technology to the next level. The process of machine learning means that the computer will be able to work without any human involvement learning new skills and developing new battle strategies.

(Source: War Is Boring)

Such missions have always been undertaken by humans in the past but the Chinese scientists now believe that AI is ready to replace most of the human decisions. The system works similar to a human brain and tries to replicate it. It also has the ability to identify threats faster and more accurately than a human crew.

The data being fed to the submarine will be coming from Chinese Navy’s observation networks, the sensors on the submarine itself and daily interactions with the crew. A neural network reinforces machine learning. The system is designed in such a way that it can improve skills and develop new strategies without human intervention.

(Source: The Indian Express)
The AI system can assist the commanding officers by evaluating the environment of the battlefield and provide relevant information that will aid the commander in making decisions. It could also allow the commanding officers to consider the risks and advantages of certain battle moves and suggest moves that did not cross the captain’s mind.

Even though the Chinese government is investing in these self-thinking nuclear submarines, it has shown no intent to cut down the crew size by any means. “There must be a human hand on every critical post. This is for safety redundancy,” local media reported the researcher as saying.

(Source: Defence News)

Even though it is about the advancement of AI technology, making self-thinking nuclear submarines is a recipe for disaster. It could very well result in a runaway submarine with a nuclear arsenal that could be used for massive destruction.

We will know in time how good an idea it actually is.