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World armies place stake on unmanned combat aircraft

Author : Idnes.cz Czech media outlet

Source : Idnes.cz

The joint project of the American Boeing and the Australians flew like a drone manned from the ground, but next time it will be controlled only by a computer
22:39, 12 March 2021

Open source

The joint project of the American Boeing and the Australians flew like a drone manned from the ground, but next time it will be controlled only by a computer. His task – to accompany an ordinary manned fighter in battle and serve as a shield. When the enemy radar appears, it flies to him and paralyzes him so that he could not send a missile against the fighter. But if he still succeeds, then in the worst case, "Faithful partner" will be stuck between the rocket and the fighter and will sacrifice himself. It all depends on the program. In addition, this device can fly independently, carry weapons and strike like a regular fighter.

This is a revolution in aviation and the beginning of a coup in military affairs. America and other countries are already driven by fully autonomous cars, driven not by a driver but by a computer, and now the US military wants autonomous planes, tanks, and huge transport submarines.

Of course, this will not be achieved immediately, but the direction is clear: wars will be waged by computer algorithms.

In addition to the "Faithful Partner", which operates in conjunction with a manned fighter, American aircraft are counting on unmanned aerial vehicles. The Marines are developing autonomous helicopters to supply cut-off units. In addition, ground forces must receive an autonomous armored personnel carrier. The US Navy is preparing to take Orca - unmanned submarines that can transport materials and soldiers to the sea, search for mines and attack enemy ships.

The "Faithful partner" made the first flight at a time when an independent commission of bright heads called on the US government to develop weapons with artificial intelligence, as this is another round of weapons, in which the United States will again face Russia and, most importantly, China.

The commission included not only generals but also such figures as the head of "Google" Eric Schmidt and his colleagues from technology companies, including "Amazon," "Microsoft," and "Oracle."

The authors of the report (750-page Talmud) concluded that the transition to weapons with artificial intelligence is inevitable, as China, which the United States named its main strategic rival last Friday, will adopt such weapons. The report also says that artificial intelligence will reduce human losses during conflicts. There will simply be fewer soldiers on the battlefield, and the robots will be programmed so that they do not kill civilians. However, all this contradicts the former "computer pacifism". Some experts call for keeping the army as far away from artificial intelligence as possible, as it can get out of control. In this regard, it is very interesting that the commission, according to which the United States should prevent the ban on this type of weapon in the world, included managers of very high-tech California companies.

But the fact is that progress cannot be stopped. China, for example, said it did not see a problem in developing weapons with artificial intelligence, but opposed its use in combat. In this case, according to relentless military logic, these weapons should be developed just in case by the Americans, Russians or Indiansю

Related: Donbas: Russian militants use drone to drop grenade on Ukrainian positions, two servicemen wounded

It's not just about planes and ships. The Russians tested the Uranium 9 wedge in Syria, which operates without a crew. The tests were not very successful, but the reason was in the trivial "children's diseases", in particular in a bad chassis. But it is not limited to wedges: instead of infantry in battle can win automatic soldiers, small mobile vehicles with fire systems, and a computer programmed for an infantry soldier trained on the training ground and shooting range.

Even an exemplary soldier has no chance against computer speed and IQ. However, the benefits are even greater. The car does not get tired, does not feel hunger or fear, does not lose motivation, and has the highest fighting spirit. The car can fight for weeks.

In addition, it is cheap. It may seem uneconomical to produce expensive smart machines for combat, while human "cannon fodder" would seem to be much cheaper. But in reality, the soldier and his training, as well as supplies are more expensive than mass-produced work. A pilot in a fighter is undoubtedly more expensive than an unmanned fighter. In addition, autonomous weapons are smaller, so cheaper. Imagine a tank without a crew and armor. Actually, it is one gun and the computer on a caterpillar course.

Apparently, the future is based on computer algorithms that will dictate weapons, where to go, and when and what to shoot. At least on the battlefield, people will hand over control of the military to kill indirectly. But there are a few pitfalls. Critics of this weapon claim that if only cars are "killed", conflicts will become more frequent, as they will turn into a kind of sports competition. Many soldiers will be far from the battlefield, which will dramatically reduce casualties.

Today, drone operators in Afghanistan are based at 45 kilometers from Las Vegas, the center of entertainment. This is called a dude war…

There is another problem: computers are smart fools. Critics say that the computer will not distinguish a soldier from a civilian and will not be able to assess whether his actions pose a justified threat to civilians, and this is the most important requirement of international law.

Related: Ukraine's AA defense system operators to practice in downing hostile drones with aid of USAF

Computers do not have common sense that will force them to break order for a good cause, that is, they will not be able to behave badly to do good. A known example. Three years ago, an unmanned vehicle killed a woman named Elaine Herzberg in Arizona. A large-scale investigation established in just two years that the cause was not a failure. It's just that the car was programmed to stop in front of pedestrians at a crosswalk, even if it had to damage the brakes and computer. But Herzberg was carrying a bicycle with bags in an unauthorized place, and the program did not take this into account.

Now cars will probably be programmed with pedestrians anywhere. However, there may be another situation that has not been entered into the computer beforehand. Such cases with unmanned vehicles serve as an argument against autonomous weapons, but the fact is that for all their stupidity, they are still more reliable than manned vehicles.

Milan Vodicka

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