Tanks For Sale : The US Army is using AI for their tanks and many fear the prospect of tanks becoming an automated weapon system.
The US Army Contracting Command recently contacted potential contractors and research labs about the development of a new program called ATLAS.
Standing for Advanced Targeting and Lethality Automated System. This new program, according to Stuart Russell, a professor of computer science at UC Berkeley and one of the leading AI researchers in the country, says that it is “another significant step towards lethal autonomous weapons.”
This new initiative, according to the US Army, hopes to allow weapons on tanks, and other armored vehicles, to “acquire, identify, and engage targets at least 3X faster than the current manual process.” The idea is to maximize human response time in situations where it is most valuable, hoping to reduce civilian casualties and friendly fire.
This new program will not be fully autonomous, and still requires a human to pull the trigger. But, researchers such as Stuart Russel fear its future applications in warfare, and the lack of specific guidelines around the technology by the UN. Russel told Quart magazine, “It looks very much as if we are heading into an arms race.”
In response to concerns from many, the US Army specified that the system was intended as more of a friendly-foe identifier, than a fully autonomous targeting system. The US Army made it clear to their contractors, that a human would always be ‘in the loop’. But Michael Horowitz, professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania, believes that the existing Department of Defense directive still lacks clarity around the issue of autonomous weapon system, he suggests that the US Army revise the what the ATLAS program calls for.
However, as society continually embraces an automated world, it seems only inevitable that in time tanks will become 100% automated without any humans inside the vehicles. The tanks of the future will be controlled from secret installations thousands of miles and continents away in some cases.
For example, the US missile defense, our most sophisticated automated weapon system, is physically installed in the Marshall Islands, yet controlled by the Pentagon outside of Washington DC, half a world away. Over time, one would expect the natural progression of military systems to become automated all the way down eventually to all manner of weapons.
Futuristic Tanks Written by Ramsay Bader & Edited by Alexander Fleiss
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