Tomorrow’s wars will be fought with a lethal combination of soldiers, drones, and AI-powered systems. The Internet of Battle Things, as it’s being called, is a vast battlefield network of machines and humans — and the US Army is working to make it a reality.
In what reads like a list of kill-streak perks in a Call of Duty game, the Army described what the “things” in its “Internet of Battle Things” would be in a just-released white paper:
The paper was authored by the Army’s chief of the Network Science Division of the Army Research Laboratory, Dr. Alexander Kott. It outlines the need to develop systems to augment both machines and people in the real world with artificially intelligent agents to defend the network:
Today’s best AI, the likes of Google’s DeepMind and IBM’s Watson, are just barely capable of performing high-function image processing. The Army is looking for advances in technology that, currently speaking, seem pretty far away.
Kott takes pains to underscore the fact that the AI powering US war efforts will need to be resilient in ways that today’s AI simply isn’t. He states:
Unfortunately, robots have a tendency to be pretty clumsy, though developers are quickly overcoming that particular problem.
Ultimately, aside from outlining what the future battlefield will look like, the paper’s conclusion is either dissapointing or a giant relief, depending on your agenda:
Armies of killer robots may one day descend upon entire cities like human-seeking locusts made of silicon and metal, but we’re not quite there yet according to the US Army.
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