Artificial intelligence competition among superpowers leads to US military investment in AI

Artificial intelligence competition among superpowers leads to US military investment in AI

In July, a test pilot flew out of the airspace of Florida, accompanied by a pilot capable of 3,500 miles and carrying a rocket capable of hitting enemy targets from a distance.

But pilots are not human. It is an artificial intelligence system that is trained on millions of hours of military simulation.

The three-hour XQ-58A Valkyrie demonstrates the first flight of the AI, a learning machine developed by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, according to the Air Force.

The plane does not need a runway. The rocket engine propelled it into flight, and its hidden design made it difficult to detect.

But its real difference comes from its role as Loyal Wing, a newly coined military term for drones capable of collaborating with the next generation of fighter jets and bombers.

Valkyrie has yet to see real-life conflict in battle, but it is an important step towards further war by AI The machine may be more autonomous than before.

Col. Tucker Hamilton, Air Force chief of AI testing and operations, said in a video showing Valkyrie that expectations were acceptable.

“We have to acknowledge that AI is here,” Hamilton said. It is here to stay. It is a powerful tool. Combined fighter jets and autonomy of that kind are revolutionary and will be the battlefield of the future.

The test flight comes after other major demonstrations of AI military adaptation.

The Army in February unveiled the M1 Abrams combat tank, which incorporates an AI-enabled target recognition model. The Navy in March announced a new AI program called Project OneShip that uses machine learning to manage the huge amount of data collected daily by ships.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks in September painted a more modern picture of future combat. She described a self-propelled solar-powered aircraft equipped with sensors to provide near-real-time information. Similar land pods can be navigated to keep soldiers safe.

Hicks said the urgency of developing new AI technologies comes from competition with China.

“The country has spent the last 20 years building a modern, carefully crafted military to demonstrate the operational advantages we have gained over the decades,” she said.

Small, smart, cheap and usable machines will play a key role in the military’s response to that threat. Aircraft like the Valkyrie cost about $ 4 million to produce a fraction of the value of a top-class bomber, such as the $ 737 million B-2 Spirit, which makes them cost-effective and easy to replace.

They also protect human life. The team working on the AI ​​system of the aircraft has counted the number of military pilots who have been killed over the decades due to human error, incidents such as crashes or other aircraft crashes.

Jessica Peterson, technical director of the 412th Operations Group and civil flight test engineer, said that each life is one that many people love. So looking at future capabilities that people should not risk is a huge benefit for this community.

Assassin Robot

Many are not thrilled with the prospect of unmanned and AI-fueled combat. An increasing number of experts warn that the technology is fraught with ethical concerns regarding its development and use.

In May, more than 180 experts and public figures signed a nasty statement from the Center for AI Security, saying that reducing the risk of AI extinction should be a global priority.

In 2018, UN Secretary-General Antnio Guterres called for a ban on killer robots at the Paris Peace Forum. The European Parliament has again called for a similar ban in 2022.

“Imagine the consequences of an autonomous system that can target and attack people on its own,” Guterres said. I call on the state to ban these weapons, which is politically unacceptable and morally disgusting.

But the fear of military robots running amuck is a real threat, said Noah Greene, an AI security project assistant at the New American Security Center, an independent nonprofit that makes security and defense policies. In the United States.

He said there were real concerns about AI-powered technology accidentally killing civilians or targeting the wrong enemies on the battlefield, but those concerns were justified for the human army.

“You do not need an AI system or an autonomous system for the wrong people,” Greene said. I really think people should fight the productivity boost to the idea that the US military using AI would be very disruptive and destructive.

The Department of Defense has signaled that it is taking the effects of AI seriously. In January, the department released the first major update since 2012 to its autonomy in introducing weapons systems.

The policy provides guidance for defense officials responsible for overseeing the design, development, acquisition and use of autonomous weapons systems, which must provide commanders and operators with an appropriate level of human judgment on the use of force. .

Bill Marcellino, a senior behavioral scientist at research firm RAND Corporation, says the real confusion now is how to develop and use a reliable AI system when rivals like Russia or China are unlikely to be sensitive. Adhere to the same values ​​used by the United States.

“Our enemies will use AI without any ethical restrictions,” he said. How willing are we to manage swallowing in the name of safety and control, because I guarantee you (China) And Russia does not care about that.

Behind the scenes

While debating around autonomous systems, the Ministry of Defense does not waste time spending a lot of money on developing new AI for its day-to-day operations.

In fiscal year 2023, the Department of Defense has identified technology as a leading priority for modernization and received $ 1.1 billion to adopt AI into workforce development and data management.

The department is asking Congress for $ 1.8 billion in the same fund in next year’s budget.

Marcellino, who is developing a new AI program for the military, said using AI to run daily tasks more efficiently and easily access data in the military’s large bureaucratic network saves time and money.

“Where AI can change, it really gets control over what you spend, who pays for it and where it costs,” he said. That’s really important to help the army save a ton of money.

Earlier this year, the Army also deployed a large language AI system similar to ChatGPT called Donvan in its classified network to allow for faster and more informed decisions.

Donovan accepts real-time orders and status reports and intelligence to help untrained military personnel easily understand and compile data. The system developed by Scale AI allows learning from people’s feedback to improve the technology, according to the company.

Marcellino said those AI systems can complete routine work and analysis in seconds, which will take hours. He argued that increasing the workforce allowed the military to better exploit the people’s time and talents.

And it will be important as the military moves quickly to develop and adapt new technologies to compete with China, according to Deputy Defense Secretary Hicks.

“One of the benefits that they can not manipulate, steal or copy because it is embedded in our people is American ingenuity: our ability to imagine, create and master future war characters,” she said. .

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