The field of artificial intelligence (AI) has known some historical ups and downs. Breakthroughs and false hopes came in cycles, along with peaks and valleys of interest and funding. Those valleys of fiscal backing are known to the small community of computer scientists as an “AI Winter.” Enthusiasm and optimism about AI has gradually increased, and now AI has again become widely publicized and generously funded. Optimism and research grants are now at their zenith, with billions of dollars of commercial and government resources searching for breakthrough applications.
As the futurist Ray Kurzweil now writes: “the AI winter is long since over.”
As noted in various government and think tank reports, the convergence of robots and artificial intelligence will be major sources of profound change in the character of warfare. The impact in the conduct of war will influence the interactions of policy, populations, and their military forces in ways that we have not considered since Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey a full 50 years ago. In that classic, HAL 9000 becomes paranoid and kills several astronauts while ultimately dueling for control of the space mission with astronaut David Bowman.
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