In Paul Scharre’s new book Four Battlegrounds: Power in the Age of Artificial Intelligence, Scharre recounts the story of one AI experiment that was disrupted by a squad of Marines who innovated new ways to sneak around and avoid detection. In just a day, the Marines figured out that the best way to approach an artificial intelligence system designed to identify human beings is to, well, not look like a human.
In practical terms, that meant standing behind a tree or just throwing a cardboard box over their heads.
The artificial intelligence in question was developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Squad X program. The technology was designed to maximize “a squad’s situational awareness, while the autonomous systems allow squads to increase their battle space and area of influence,” according to DARPA.
“What DARPA was working on was developing the ability to identify people in complex urban environments,” said Scharre. “And sense people approaching the squad.”
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