Closing Thought–10Sep20

There is a ton of speculation with the rise in our abilities with AI. Recently I posted on the war game where the AI beat our best pilots in a scenario……

Since AI is getting better and better when we have robot generals will they make better decisions than humans?

With Covid-19 incapacitating startling numbers of U.S. service members and modern weapons proving increasingly lethal, the American military is relyingever more frequently on intelligent robots to conduct hazardous combat operations. Such devices, known in the military as “autonomous weapons systems,” include robotic sentries, battlefield-surveillance drones, and autonomous submarines. So far, in other words, robotic devices are merely replacing standard weaponry on conventional battlefields. Now, however, in a giant leap of faith, the Pentagon is seeking to take this process to an entirely new level — by replacing not just ordinary soldiers and their weapons, but potentially admirals and generals with robotic systems.


Admittedly, those systems are still in the development stage, but the Pentagon is now rushing their future deployment as a matter of national urgency. Every component of a modern general staff — including battle planning, intelligence-gathering, logistics, communications, and decision-making — is, according to the Pentagon’s latest plans, to be turned over to complex arrangements of sensors, computers, and software. All these will then be integrated into a “system of systems,” now dubbed the Joint All-Domain Command-and-Control, or JADC2 (since acronyms remain the essence of military life). Eventually, that amalgam of systems may indeed assume most of the functions currently performed by American generals and their senior staff officers.

Robot Generals Will They Make Better Decisions Than Humans…Or Worse?

I know most everyone has seen Terminator one through 50 and that a computer called Skynet took over and decided that we humans were not worth saving…..recall those days?

There are questions and scenarios that are not all that rosy…..

Last week’s lopsided showdown between a human F-16 pilot and an artificially intelligent one — the robot won 5-0 — was just the latest sign that we need to be thinking harder about the changes that smart machines are bringing to the battlefield. Among them: as relatively cheap robots play larger roles, the focus of warfare will shift to attacking and defending the humans that operate, maintain, and even build them.

Now and for the foreseeable future, military robots still need humans. Robots are not (yet) capable of the complex thinking required for warfare; advances in speed and computational power do not automatically bring basic common sense. A robot cannot tell the difference between a farmer with a gun and a soldier. 

So the military frequently focuses on the concept of human-machine teaming: the machine does what it does best, and the humans do the rest. 

In the short term, humans are needed to make decisions on the use of force. Autonomous systems can beat an F-16 jockey in a dogfight, but they cannot decide whether a target is worth striking. Current Department of Defense policy does not allow autonomous weapons to make decisions on the use of force without appropriate human judgement.

I realize that this is not something many Americans will spend any time thinking about….but maybe they should.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

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