Speed Reads

war 2.0

The U.S. military is testing missiles that can steer themselves with artificial intelligence

The Air Force and the Navy, in collaboration with weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin, are testing missiles that can steer themselves and choose their own targets using a form of artificial intelligence, according to an eye-opening report from The New York Times. U.S. officials deny that the missiles are so-called "autonomous weapons" — i.e. free of human guidance and control — but experts disagree.

The report sheds light on the growing autonomous weapons industry, which could change warfare as we know it. From the Times:

But now, some scientists say, arms makers have crossed into troubling territory: They are developing weapons that rely on artificial intelligence, not human instruction, to decide what to target and whom to kill.

As these weapons become smarter and nimbler, critics fear they will become increasingly difficult for humans to control — or to defend against. And while pinpoint accuracy could save civilian lives, critics fear weapons without human oversight could make war more likely, as easy as flipping a switch. [The New York Times]

An international summit to be held later this week in Geneva is to determine whether the production of such weapons should be curbed under the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.

To which we will say just two words: Sky. Net.