As the U.S. military continues to explore the use of artificial intelligence in weapons, efforts are underway to enact ethical principles that would bind their activity.
Ensuring continuous soldier readiness is paramount to success on any battlefield.
Unmanned ground vehicles have made the transition from science fiction to reality, with platforms already proving their value to land forces.
There are limits, though, on how fast progress can be made. Alexander Kott, an Army Research Laboratory scientist specializing in cyber resiliency, said the only limit on unmanned systems will be the speed of advances in science and technology. He said transformational, game-changing unmanned systems can be expected.
The Army needs computer-smart technicians to help with its data management, but it also needs bureaucrats, said Don Bitner of the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center during a panel discussion hosted by the Association of the U.S. Army.
The chief for strategy and development for infrastructure at the center, created in 2018, Bitner was part of a panel discussing the importance of cloud computing technology for Army strategy.
Morality and modernization are equally important parts of the Army’s efforts to expand artificial intelligence and robotics, a senior Army official said at the opening of an Association of the U.S. Army event focused on the expansion of military capabilities.
Army systems using artificial intelligence will require battlefield security to prevent information from being altered or blocked, says the U.S. Army Research Laboratory director, who specializes in sensors and electronic devices.
Speaking at the Army Autonomy and Artificial Intelligence Symposium and Exposition in Detroit, Philip Perconti cautioned that data can be hacked, and signals and information in the field can be altered. If that happens, soldiers will lose trust in the systems and turn them off.
A panel discussion on how robotics and autonomous systems could aid small units included a warning from a top Army expert that the “biggest danger facing the nation is someone else’s robots on the battlefield.”
Artificial intelligence and autonomous systems “are no longer science fiction,” said Gen. John M. Murray, the U.S. Army Futures Command commanding general and the soldier charged with building vast new capabilities for future battles.
Advances in robotics and autonomous systems hold the promise of giving the U.S. Army capabilities advantages over near-peer competitors in a close-combat fight, says a new research paper published by the Association of the U.S. Army’s Institute of Land Warfare.
The Army has been shifting more research and technology funding to autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles because future battles could be won by the side with the best robotics, Army Secretary Mark T. Esper said.
Artificial intelligence and robotics have “the potential to fundamentally change the character of warfare,” Esper said earlier this month at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado. “We want to get there first, and I tell you we will get there first.”