Preview the rise of killer robots

The Munich Security Conference is an annual catalogue of horrors. But the most ominous discussion this past weekend wasn’t about Islamic State terrorism but a new generation of weapons — such as killer robots and malignly programmed “smart” appliances that could be deployed in future conflicts.

Behind the main events at the annual discussion of foreign and defense policy here was a topic described in one late-night session as “The Future of Warfare: Race with the Machines.” The premise was that we are at the dawn of an era of conflict in which all wars will be, to some extent, cyberwars, and new weapons will combine radical advances in hardware, software and even biology…

Guests at a “Cyber Dinner” hosted here by the Atlantic Council considered the dawning world of killer appliances. In the coming Internet of Things (IoT), speakers noted, there will soon be more than 30 billion smart chips embedded in cars, elevators, refrigerators, thermostats and medical devices. These pervasive, connected systems may well have poor security and be easily hackable.

The big worry in the future, argued several tech experts at the dinner, may not be data privacy — forget about that — but data security. “You can know my blood type, but don’t change it,” one speaker explained. Hackers may be able to alter data in financial markets, hospitals and electrical grids — paralyzing normal economic and social activity…

From Obama’s favorite Himmlerite, James Clapper:

❝ “In the future, intelligence services might use the IoT for identification, surveillance, monitoring, location tracking and targeting for recruitment, or to gain access to networks or user credentials,” Clapper told Congress. And he warned in his testimony that as artificial intelligence is built into weapons, they will be “susceptible to a range of disruptive and deceptive tactics that might be difficult to anticipate or quickly understand.”

The chuckle, of course, is that Clapper is either talking about what is on his implementation schedule – or already has in the wild.

6 thoughts on “Preview the rise of killer robots

  1. News item says:

    PORTLAND, Oregon, April 7 (Reuters) – The U.S. military on Thursday christened an experimental self-driving warship designed to hunt for enemy submarines, a major advance in robotic warfare at the core of America’s strategy to counter Chinese and Russian naval investments.
    The 132-foot-long (40-meter-long) unarmed prototype, dubbed Sea Hunter, is the naval equivalent of Google’s self-driving car, designed to cruise on the ocean’s surface for two or three months at a time – without a crew or anyone controlling it remotely.
    That kind of endurance and autonomy could make it a highly efficient submarine stalker at a fraction of the cost of the Navy’s manned vessels. http://gcaptain.com/107841-2/

  2. Want ad says:

    US Air Force Seeks Autonomous Robots for Unmanned Air Vehicle Operations https://sbirsource.com/sbir/topics/93728
    “Objective: Develop a drop-in robotic system or device to rapidly convert a variety of traditionally manned aircraft to robotically piloted, autonomous aircraft. This robotic system will operate the aircraft (e.g. observe gauges, operate controls, etc.) similar to a human pilot and will not require any modifications to the aircraft. …This project leverages existing aviation assets and advances in vehicle automation technologies to develop a drop-in robotic system or device to rapidly convert a variety of traditionally manned aircraft to robotically piloted, autonomous aircraft. This robotic system will operate the aircraft (e.g. observe gauges, operate controls, etc.) similar to a human pilot and will not require any modifications to the aircraft.” See references and American Institute Of Aeronautics And Astronautics SciTech https://www.aiaa-scitech.org/

  3. Footnote says:

    “In An Apparent First, Police Used A Robot To Kill” http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/07/08/485262777/for-the-first-time-police-used-a-bomb-robot-to-kill “As of 2015, 201 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies had bought at least one explosive ordnance disposal robot through the military’s 1033 program, according to data from the Pentagon’s Defense Logistics Agency. That program distributes excess military equipment to police departments and other agencies across the country.”

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