image courtesy Wired.
In recent years Information Technology and Artificial Intelligence have slowly woven themselves into every possible industry. Many companies have been hard at work developing suitable AI drone technologies for the military. Anduril, a defense-tech company founded by Palmer Luckey, the creator of Oculus Rift, was the latest to have their tech tested by the military. According to an article on published on Wired, “this spring, a team of small drones, each resembling a small, sensor-laden helicopter, scoured a lush stretch of wilderness near Irvine, California. They spent hours circling the sky, seeking, among other things, surface-to-air missile launchers lurking in the brush. The missiles they found were not enemy ones. They were props for early test flights of a prototype military drone stuffed with artificial intelligence—the latest product from Anduril”.
This new drone, the Ghost 4, shows the potential for AI in military systems. According to Wired, “Luckey says it is the first generation that can perform various reconnaissance missions, including searching an area for enemy hardware or soldiers, under the control of a single person on the ground”. This new drone carries potential for AI in military systems. According to uasvision, “it is the first generation that can perform various reconnaissance missions, including searching an area for enemy hardware or soldiers, under the control of a single person on the ground. The drones can carry a range of payloads, including systems capable of jamming enemy communications or an infrared laser to direct weapons at a target. In theory the drone could be fitted with its own weapons”. These can create numerous benefits for the military and provide them with a Competitive advantage for many reasons which includes:
· cheaper method of collecting military intelligence
· Quicker access to this information
· It will decrease Military expenses
· More efficient military surveillance system
· Taking humans out of the line of fire
· Improved infiltration system
Image courtesy Wired.
The use of these new AI drone systems will so have positive effect on the us economy. According to Wired, “Drones are also part of a deepening technological standoff between the US and China. Members of Congress have proposed legislation banning government agencies from using consumer drones made in China, and last month the Trump administration named five US consumer drone companies as approved government suppliers. Last week, China banned exports of several kinds of components used in drones. Luckey says all of the components used in Anduril’s technology are made either in the US or in allied countries or can be replaced with ones that are”. This further encourages US companies to do business with each other.
Many are concerned about this tech getting into enemies’ hands. Questions are be asked about the security measures/ security features that are in place to protect the important information collected by these drones. Would the data be encrypted? Are biometric security features going to be implemented in order to create better Access controls. Is the system Fault-tolerant, how likely is it to malfunction? Can Andruril deliver on their promise? Are these drones properly tested? And there are numerous ethical issues surrounding AI drones on a whole. According to Wired, “AI and military systems are either a perfect match or a terrible idea—depending on who you ask. Many researchers view military use of AI as deeply troubling and are seeking bans on weapons that could act autonomously”.
Andruril aims to shake up the defense industry with a playbook borrowed from Silicon Valley. Instead of waiting for direction from the Pentagon, it develops products internally that it then hopes to sell to the military. It also looks to militarize consumer technologies such as AI and VR, and to develop prototypes more quickly and cheaply. Therefore, these private companies are not going to be directly involved in waging, however, the products and services they create and sell to the military would.