Mike Griffin, an aerospace engineer, recently said how serious he has been taking the threat of drone swarms, particularly the ones powered by artificial intelligence.
His employer, the DOD (United States Department of Defense) and top personnel’s in the US Air Force also share similar concerns.
Griffin, a former space program director, highlighted the January’s attack on a Russian airbase located in Syria by a swarm of drones while speaking at a conference regarding the future of war held on April 9 in Washington DC.
Although human-driven weapons can combat a few drones, he argued that they cannot deal with many of them, for instance, 1,000. Griffin raised these comments during a discussion on how to deal with drones and other numerous weapons being powered by artificial intelligence.
In response, he emphasized the need for serious efforts on both defensive and offensive weapons.
During the conference, Griffin acknowledged the existence of an ongoing artificial intelligence arms race but also said the US was not part of it, a situation that has given her adversaries a competitive advantage.
As a result, he called for the US to consider the potential of machine learning seriously.
According to a report by Bard College’s Center for the Study of the Drone, the Department of Defense’s 2019 budget for uncrewed technologies and systems comprises a 25% increment over the financing in 2018.
As such, the budget hit $9.39 billion. The proposal consists of funding for 3,447 new sea, air and ground drones. The report also highlighted that the 2018 budget proposed for merely 807 new drones.
Since the offensive side of drone technology is far ahead of the defensive one as far as swarms are concerned, Griffin suggested that the Pentagon should create a good scheme to avoid giving the enemy unopposed success.
Some technology professionals are concerned about the increased drive towards weapon systems that utilize AI in making vital attack decisions.
This week, in Geneva, representatives of 120 member nations of the UN started discussions on a potential sanction on lethal AI-driven weaponry.
Furthermore, Mary Wareham, the Human Rights Watch’s Arms Division’s advocacy director, said to the CCW that the United States must devote herself to negotiating for a legally-binding injunction treaty promptly in a bid to set the boundaries of future independence in weapon systems.
She added that such a treaty could curb the creation, production, and use of fully independent weapons.
Recently, thousands of Google workers penned a letter protesting the involvement of the tech giant in ProjectMaven, the Pentagon’s pathfinder AI program. According to budget records, the project is a program involving the development of machine learning, computer vision and AI algorithms to identify classify and monitor objects.
Although the program is designed to assist in analyzing downloaded video streams, the Pentagon aims to install sensors to enable machines to make decisions in real-time.
Furthermore, a Pentagon spokeswoman said that the overall algorithmic warfare for Pentagon is expected to receive tens of millions of US dollars of new financing in the 2018 fiscal year’s military budget.