The US Army Is Building AI-Based Tanks That Can Engage Targets Automatically

Aadhya Khatri - Mar 12, 2019


The US Army Is Building AI-Based Tanks That Can Engage Targets Automatically

With powerful contractors like Boeing’s assistance, the US Army is working its way to a future when their weapons are controlled by AI.

The US Army is progressing with its ambition to build autonomous ground-combat vehicles that are able to identify and engage faster than the current system.

This project is called The Advanced Targeting and Lethality Automated System and it will allow a tank to do everything it needs to take out opponents. However, the final firing step is left for a human to control.

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The US is working on its ATLAS project

This movement from the US seems to go against 26 nations’ effort to impose a complete ban on lethal autonomous weapons. However, the US is not alone in this, there are 4 other nations including Israel, France, the UK, and Russia which have rejected the idea of international law.

With powerful contractors like Boeing’s assistance, the US Army is working its way to a future when their weapons are controlled by AI. Even so, for now, the law still calls for the presence of a human to do the final step, which is pulling the trigger.

Stuart Russell, professor of Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley, who is also noted for contributing greatly to artificial intelligence, said that it seemed like the future of a ban on lethal autonomous weapons was uncertain, and the deal might fall apart when all the needed political reasons were present as the country was advancing to an arms race.

From the US Army’s point of view, AI-controlled ground-combat vehicles are merely tools to give them an edge on the battlefields.

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The technology will give the US Army an edge on the battlefields 

According to Paul Scharre, Senior Fellow and Director of the Technology and National Security Program, in battles, time was critical. Several decisions to engage or not to engage were forced to be made under the time pressure. He elaborated his point by taking an example of when soldiers in a tank detected the enemy tank; they were probably identified by the opponent already. If they got close enough to fire, they also put themselves within the enemy’s hitting range.

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