AI Dispatch - Vol V - 7th February 2019, Thursday

Fully Autonomous Drones

China is worried an AI arms race could lead to accidental war


Curator of this newsletter has always highlighted this fact that, AI race is going to mimic everything which the Cold War era Nuclear Arms Race had. Same anxiety, same fears but finally, may be a different end or result.


While the nuclear arms were very tightly controlled, with a tough SOP and trigger always in the hands of Supreme Commander, with new age drones and autonomous weapons, being in the control of tactical commanders, their legitimate and genuine use, by prudent and judicious control is very difficult to monitor.

A “trigger happy” tactical commander could do far greater damage, than what even many thousands of active nuclear weapons on planet earth could not manage to do, in decades of Cold War.


“The specific scenario described to me [by one anonymous Chinese official] is unintentional escalation related to the use of a drone,” Gregory C. Allen, an adjunct senior fellow at CNAS and author of the new report, tells The Verge.

As Allen explains, the operation of drones both large and small has become increasingly automated in recent years. In the US, drones are capable of basic autopilot, performing simple tasks like flying in a circle around a target. But China is being “more aggressive about introducing greater levels of autonomy closer to lethal use of force,” he says. One example is the Blowfish A2 drone, which China exports internationally and which, says Allen, is advertised as being capable of “full autonomy all the way up to targeted strikes.”

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