The fields of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and autonomous technology are exploding in development. So how will these advancements change the way we fight future wars? In this episode of the MWI Podcast, Paul Scharre explains the drivers and limiting factors of autonomous weapons systems and discusses the trends that will make machines increasingly central to the conduct of military operations. Scharre is the director of the Technology and National Security Program at the Center for a New American Security.
You can listen to the full conversation below, and if you aren’t already subscribed to the MWI Podcast, be sure to find it on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast app so you don’t miss an episode!
Note: This episode was originally released in May 2018.
Image credit: Erik Hildebrandt, US Navy
The main (USA) goal of autonomous weapons is saving friendly lives, be it pilots, sailors, Marines, soldiers, special forces, etc., and making material (the drone) generally expendable.
But what if a country develops autonomous weapons for WINNING wars? Now that is totally different than building drones to destroy targets and for surveillance. The USA doesn't seem to build drones for winning wars strategically. The USA and the West seem to build autonomous weapons for destroying targets and saving Blue Force lives. Russia built a nuclear-powered, nuclear-tipped cruise missile, or a nuclear-powered, nuclear-tipped torpedo (if they actually work) that can win wars because of their mega-destruction and terror levels. The West has nothing like that and perhaps considers such weapons overkill, but we have no defense against these Superweapon guided drones.
The movie "Terminator" built T-800s and T-1000s for WINNING the war against the Human Resistance. SKYNET wanted Infiltrators inside the Resistance's Base. Sure, T-800s in Endoskeletons blazed away with laser guns in the future rubble landscape, but the flesh "Arnold Schwarzenegger" can GET INSIDE the human base and blaze away, killing command staff and Rebels, to win the war…and it almost did. THAT is what the USA and the West needs to consider when developing and building drones. Sure, one can build all these autonomous drones for destroying targets and through attrition, can hope to wear down opposing forces, but will these drones WIN any wars besides saving blood and treasure? Because once drones are all expended, it's back to humans and manned systems to fight these wars to win them, costing real blood and treasure again.