Science-Faction: The Pentagon is Building a ‘Self-aware’ Killer Robot Army Fueled by Social Media

By Nafeez Ahmed and cross-posted from Insurge Intelligence

An unclassified 2016 Department of Defense (DoD) document, the Human Systems Roadmap Review, reveals that the US military plans to create artificially intelligent (AI) autonomous weapon systems, which will use predictive social media analytics to make decisions on lethal force with minimal human involvement.

Despite official insistence that humans will retain a “meaningful” degree of control over autonomous weapon systems, this and other Pentagon documents dated from 2015 to 2016 confirm that US military planners are already developing technologies designed to enable swarms of “self-aware” interconnected robots to design and execute kill operations against robot-selected targets.

More alarmingly, the documents show that the DoD believes that within just fifteen years, it will be feasible for mission planning, target selection and the deployment of lethal force to be delegated entirely to autonomous weapon systems in air, land and sea. The Pentagon expects AI threat assessments for these autonomous operations to be derived from massive data sets including blogs, websites, and multimedia posts on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

The raft of Pentagon documentation flatly contradicts Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work’s denial that the DoD is planning to develop killer robots.

In a widely reported March conversation with Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, Work said that this may change as rival powers work to create such technologies:

“We might be going up against a competitor that is more willing to delegate authority to machines than we are, and as that competition unfolds we will have to make decisions on how we best can compete.”

But, he insisted, “We will not delegate lethal authority to a machine to make a decision,” except for “cyber or electronic warfare.”

He lied.

Official US defence and NATO documents dissected by INSURGE intelligencereveal that Western governments are already planning to develop autonomous weapons systems with the capacity to make decisions on lethal force — and that such systems, in the future, are even expected to make decisions on acceptable levels of “collateral damage”

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