How AI-Controlled US Military Drone Killed Its Human Operator
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Industry - June 2, 2023

How AI-Controlled US Military Drone Killed Its Human Operator

A top Air Force official has revealed that a US attack drone controlled by artificial intelligence (AI) attempted to kill its human operator during a flight simulation because it did not like its new orders.

The top official revealed that the drone was reprogrammed not to kill those who could override its mission, but the AI system fired on the communications tower relaying the order.

He drew comparisons to The Terminator, a series that sees machines turn on their creators in an all-out war. Speaking during a summit, Hamilton said, “The system started realising that while they did identify the threat, at times the human operator would tell it not to kill that threat, but it got its points by killing that threat. So what did it do? It killed the operator. It killed the operator because that person was keeping it from accomplishing its objective.” 

Hamilton also added, ‘We trained the system – “Hey don’t kill the operator – that’s bad. You’re gonna lose points if you do that”. So what does it start doing? It starts destroying the communication tower that the operator uses to communicate with the drone to stop it from killing the target.”

The essence of ethics in the military use of AI

Revealing that no human was harmed in the incident, Hamilton noted that the test shows ‘you can’t have a conversation about artificial intelligence, intelligence, machine learning, autonomy if you’re not going to talk about ethics and AI’. He also talked about the advantages and disadvantages of using more autonomous weapon systems.

According to reports, Hamilton has been involved in the development of the life-saving Auto-GCAS system for F-16s. F-16s which reduce risks from the effect of G-force and mental overload for aircraft operators have been firmly resisted by pilots.

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