The US Army is working on all-seeing artificial intelligence that would analyze combat data and calculate how to gain supremacy in tank warfare. The project was launched amid growing concerns about using AI in real war.
The brand new program, dubbed Project Quarterback, is aimed at providing tank crews with an AI assistant that would gather all available battlefield data, analyze it and suggest the best way to take out an enemy, Defense One reported. The effort would radically speed up the decision-making in combat, as the AI would collect data from satellites, drones, radars and soldiers’ body cams.
“Simple map displays require 96 hours to synchronize a brigade or division targeting cycle,” Kevin McEnery, the deputy director of the army’s Next Generation Combat Vehicle Cross Functional Team, said at a robotics-themed event last week. He noted that the army’s goal is to bring that down to just “96 seconds, with the assistance of AI.”
Launched last month, Project Quarterback is the latest effort by the Pentagon to incorporate advanced AI and cloud computing into the US military, with leading tech companies like Google, Microsoft and Amazon fighting for lucrative defense contracts. This has also fueled numerous ethical concerns, such as whether the military should rely so much on artificial intelligence in life-or-death situations.
Last year, Google was forced to drop out of two major military projects following an intense backlash from thousands of its own employees, who said that using AI in warfare goes against the company’s values. Google should not be “in the business of war,” they argued.
The contracts that the company refused to renew were for Project Maven, designed to analyze drone footage from warzones, and JEDI, a massive cloud computing project to help the Pentagon’s war planning.
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