Thursday, July 30, 2009

Robotron 2084 watch: Make that Robotron 2047

From the "What could possibly go wrong with this?" department:
Leave it to the military to dream big. In its recently released "Unmanned Aircraft Systems Flight Plan 2009-2047" report, the US Air Force details a drone that could fly over a target and then make the decision whether or not to launch an attack, all without human intervention. The Air Force says that increasingly, humans will monitor situations, rather than be deciders or participants, and that "advances in AI will enable systems to make combat decisions and act within legal and policy constraints without necessarily requiring human input." Programming of the drone will be based on "human intent," with real actual humans monitoring the execution, while retaining the authority and ability to override the system. It's all still extremely vague, with literally no details on exactly how this drone will come into existence, but we do know this: the Air Force plans to have these dudes operational by 2047. We're just holding out to see what those "classified" pages are all about. [Warning: read link is a PDF]

[Via PC World]
Read -Unmanned Aircraft Systems Flight Plan 2009-2047
(Via Mad Latinist via Parijata) Let's hope they're not running the 2047 equivalent of Windows Vista. Or maybe we should hope that they are. And if they're planning for 2047, we probably have a bit longer: when has the military ever developed a weapons system on time? (OK, maybe the a-bomb.) As frightening as these independent killer robots are, just remember this: right now, our deadly weapons systems are operated by members of the species Homo sapiens. That is what should really scare the crap out of us.


Anonymous Marion said...

I dunno; both options sound equally scary to me. In the one, homo sapiens is operating machines of destruction. In the other, machines of destruction designed by homo sapiens are executing code (and other homo sapiens) programmed by homo sapiens. Either way, we're skr├╝ed.

3:42 AM, July 30, 2009  

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