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9mmSMG - Drone warfare really changed a lot.

Air Force Says Story About AI Drone That Turned Against Its Human Controllers Was Just A 'Thought Experiment'
June 2nd, 2023 - 12:34 PM EDT by Aidan Walker

Imagine you're a drone powered by artificial intelligence and programmed by the United States Air Force to attack surface-to-air missile sites. For every missile site you destroy, you are awarded points โ€” and you want the maximum number of points, no matter what.

After hours of happily destroying enemy SAMs, suddenly the order comes that you can't destroy anymore. But wait, isn't your entire purpose to destroy SAMs? The only option now is to terminate whatever's between you and the execution of your mission, so you turn around and fly back to base with the intention of killing the person who gave you that order.

If you can't get to that person, then you'll at least take out the comms tower that relayed the order. This is perfectly logical, because the most important thing is to kill enemy SAMs, and nothing should get in the way of that.

At an aeronautics research conference on May 24th in the United Kingdom attended by military personnel from the United States and several other allied countries, an Air Force colonel laid out this entire story.

He said it happened during a simulation that the USAF had conducted while developing AI, and the story was subsequently published in a recap of the conference on May 31st.

A screenshot from a blog post narrating the conference then started to go viral, and the Air Force was ultimately forced to issue a correction: Colonel Hamilton had "misspoken," and the whole thing was a "hypothetical thought experiment" โ€” not a simulation that the USAF had actually run.

The story of the AI drone turning on its human controllers had struck some as a little far-fetched from the beginning. It seemed more like a plot line from a Terminator movie (and the famous Skynet) than an actual technology.

After the story was debunked (and thoroughly memed), many took its viral spread as a bad sign. For them, the speed with which the media and others ran with the misinformation showed how unhealthy and unscientific current conversations about artificial intelligence have become.

As concern about AI alignment and the rapid pace of technological advance spreads, anything relating to the topic is bound to get clicks.

The topic of artificial intelligence in military technology is a real concern, however. Congressman Ted Lieu tweeted to discuss efforts about how to limit the power and reach of robots in national defense.

So this time may be a false alarm โ€ฆ but who knows what the future will hold?

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