As artificial intelligence (AI) works its way into everyday life via industries like healthcare, finance and entertainment, governments around the world are increasingly investing in another of its applications: autonomous weapons systems.
Many are already developing programs and technologies that they hope will give them an edge over their adversaries, creating mounting pressure for others to follow suite. These steps appear to mark the early stages of an AI arms race causing the development of military AI to accelerate worldwide.
There are currently seven key players in the growing AI arms arena: the United States, China, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, Israel, and South Korea. The U.S. of course is among the most active.
In September 2018, the Pentagon committed to spend USD 2 billion over the next five years through the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop [the] next wave of AI technologies
Such as using artificial intelligence and machine learning to give ground-combat vehicles autonomous target capabilities.
Of course, what the U.S. develops will be shared, in some way, with its allies and partners. Just last month in Defense.gov Air Force Lt. Gen. Jack Shanahan, the director of the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center said,
“Artificial intelligence will give the United States, its allies and its partners advantages that will expedite and better inform decision-making on the battlefield, reducing the risk of casualties and collateral damage and that within the next year or two, artificial intelligence will begin to be employed in warfighting operations.”
Hawkeye recently released comments on the U.S. special operations raid that killed the Islamic State militant group’s top terrorist Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was identified through a combination of A.I. facial recognition technology and DNA analysis.
The United States Special Operations Command’s (SOCOM) use of A.I. facial recognition technology and DNA analysis assisted in reducing several high-risk factors associated with the mission. Military officials and personnel declared the mission a success, which were also backed up by live surveillance feeds used to inform national security advisers of Special Operations efforts.
The military operation comes at a critical point where technology will begin to play a role in differentiating U.S. military capabilities globally. Imaging technology and powerful camera systems are essential to subdue threats and identify possible terrorists. With the increased adoption of AI systems in the military sector, the industry will be even more capable of differentiating between high-risk factors and non-threats.
“We are pleased to see the military leveraging camera technology with the use of facial recognition software,” said Corby Marshall, founder and chief executive officer of Hawkeye Systems. “Our recent CRADA agreement with the Department of Defense further exemplifies the necessity of AI-enabled camera systems, which not only improve training efficacy, but will also improve targeting, surveillance and recon for military leaders.”
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