July 07, 2021

The U.S. says humans will always be in control of AI weapons. But the age of autonomous war is already here.

Featuring Paul Scharre

Source: The Washington Post

Journalist Gerrit De Vynck

Picture a desert battlefield, scarred by years of warfare. A retreating army scrambles to escape as its enemy advances. Dozens of small drones, indistinguishable from the quadcopters used by hobbyists and filmmakers, come buzzing down from the sky, using cameras to scan the terrain and onboard computers to decide on their own what looks like a target. Suddenly they begin divebombing trucks and individual soldiers, exploding on contact and causing even more panic and confusion.

This isn’t a science fiction imagining of what future wars might be like. It’s a real scene that played out last spring as soldiers loyal to the Libyan strongman Khalifa Hifter retreated from the Turkish-backed forces of the United Nations-recognized Libyan government. According to a U.N. group of weapons and legal experts appointed to document the conflict, drones that can operate without human control “hunted down” Hifter’s soldiers as they fled.

Read the full story and more from The Washington Post.

Authors

  • Paul Scharre

    Vice President and Director of Studies

    Paul Scharre is the Vice President and Director of Studies at the Center for a New American Security. He is the award-winning author of Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and th...