Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Commission Urges Biden To Adopt AI-Powered Weapons To Face China Threat

Is this how the machines take over? According to the BBC, a congressionally funded commission said the US should invest more in AI-powered weapon systems to counter the growing threats of China and Russia. But (unsurprisingly) China seems to be the main antagonist identified.

In its final report to the US president and Congress, the commission said the US and its allies should resist international attempts to ban AI-powered autonomous weapons systems. It defended the use of these systems, saying they’re necessary in a world where humans won’t be able to respond to threats fast enough without help.

Predictably, some quarters were very disturbed by the report. Professor Noel Sharkey, a spokesperson for the Campaign To Stop Killer Robots, called it a “shocking and frightening report that could lead to the proliferation of AI weapons making decisions about who to kill.”

Of course, the commission would say that’s an exaggeration. It did say that it wants the decision to launch nuclear weapons to remain fully in the hands of humans – ie. the President of the United States, not some computer that could potentially go wacky.

So put aside (for now) your Hollywood-inspired nightmares (or fantasies) of computers achieving sentience, launching nukes and killing everyone.

The star-studded commission which produced the report included current and former industry leaders and civil servants, including ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt, ex-Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work, and incoming Amazon CEO Andy Jassy.

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