Ready For An Autonomous Robot Army?
A group of young Americans are visiting China and walking down the street together and are approaching a large plaza with a gathering of people. Behind them, they hear a low rumble and turn around to see an armored truck that is deploying swarms of armed drones. They fly over their heads and right over the crowd releasing a payload, and the entire gathering falls to the ground. Everyone is dead.
If you think this sounds like a movie plot, think again.
Recently a Chinese defense company unveiled a new armored truck, based on the Russian Tiger vehicle, capable of conducting precisely this type of scenario. Would anyone survive a swarm of armed drones?
How deadly could this be?
It is a system that is designed to eliminate enemy targets located out of line-of-site. Additionally, these drones have the capability to identify the location of its target, but then it can instantly destroy them.
The tactical truck is a multipurpose all-terrain infantry mobility vehicle known as the YJ2080 that is being manufactured by Beijing Yanjing Motor Company – BYMC. It acts as the “mother ship” that can steer the drones to work simultaneously to converge on a single target.
Each truck carries 12 drones, 4 of the drones are used for reconnaissance activities while the other eight have payloads of deadly four pound explosives. These drones will travel up to 110 miles per hour.
China also has a fleet of Blowfish A2 fully autonomous drones they hope to use to perform multi-faceted combat missions such as targeted precision military strikes on enemy targets. Some of the features include fixed-point timing detection and fixed-range reconnaissance, and targeted precision strikes. Chinese defense company, Ziyan, is manufacturing these and equips them with two payload options.
They are exporting some of these armaments to Middle East combat zones in countries with which they are allied.
Is this the beginning of an Artificial Intelligence (AI) arms race?
China sees Artificial Intelligence as being the center of the future of intelligent wars, including using this technology in a cluster environment to completely change the current command structure of the military.
Yes, Chinese military circles are not only thinking about this, but they are actively drawing up plans for autonomous robot armies.
Do we need to be developing the same type of weapons? Or should we work with allies to prevent these countries and their military forces from developing such systems?
After all, the Chinese are saying these are for use behind enemy lines — but who is the enemy?
For the U.S., China is a bigger and more robust enemy that we have ever faced, and we have met some big rivals, like the Soviet Union.
Are we ready for an autonomous Chinese robot army run by an AI cluster like “The Borg”?