70-ton robotic battle tanks? Scary. Three grams of explosive on a mini-drone that knows your face? Also scary. Thousands of such drones? Millions? That’s potentially a strategic game-changer in a way that automating conventional military hardware is not.
“I’m not too worried about vast autonomous swarms of battle tanks,” Berkeley AI scientist and activist Stuart Russell told me.
You’re not? I’d reached out to Russell because of his criticism of the US Army’s ATLAS project to put Artificial Intelligence in armored vehicles, a system intended to assist human gunners that he argued could all too easily replace them altogether. Quartz.com headlined its story on ATLAS “The US Army wants to turn tanks into AI-powered killing machines.” Okay, so the US Army actually doesn’t want that at all — replacing loyal, well-trained soldiers with unproven technology justifiably gives generals the heebie-jeebies — but just the possibility of robot tanks got a lot of people pretty worried.
Read the full article and more on Breaking Defense.