Above: The General Atomics Avenger UAV. Credit: Militaryfactory.com
The emergence of the killer drone and the AI soldier ("robot wars") is inevitable--as French theorist Paul Virilio has long ago predicted. Recently, a protest letter was sent by 3,000 Google employees to CEO Sundar Pichai urging him to cease Project Maven. Maven is concerned with the development of an intelligent image-recognition software engine that can rapidly scroll through thousands of hours of USAF drone-shot video-footage in order to isolate certain pre-determined on-the-ground structures. The letter is a token protest only, in that Google is only one of many companies that can easily take on this task--most of the companies that Google is competing against for this job are defense contractors like Raytheon whose employees are not against the production of war-machines.
So too, fifty academics from all around the world have recently implored KAIST academics--Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology--to cease research into the creation of an autonomous killer-robot; an AI-based robot soldier. These protests--and others to come--cannot stop the inevitability of the development of autonomous robotic killing machines both unmanned (remote control) and AI (autonomous intelligent) by all major militarized powers.
The prospect of an autonomous-robot army, involved in active combat, remains only a possibility, but the capability will soon be there--unmanned flying attack machines "killer drones" such as the S-100 (above) are already in service.
The operating logic is the logic of "fighting advantage," which governs all in warfare planning. If there exists the prospect of a fighting advantage it must be seized; there is no choice--the options are to grasp the advantage, or else risk being the one facing a hostile army armed with that same definite fighting advantage. A recent example is the technology of infrared-based eyewear ("night-vision goggles") now used as standard by US special forces and USAF pilots: once a war-technology exists, it must be exploited as a fighting advantage, or it will assuredly re-emerge as a definite fighting disadvantage.
(5 April 2018)