The Army launched its new AI task force and it's making people nervous

Military Tech

The Army launched its new Artificial Intelligence Task Force on February 1, and folks aren't universally thrilled.


The Task Force, based out of Carnegie Melon University's National Robotics Engineering Center and situated under the Army's new Futures Command, plans to "modernize processes used to equip and protect soldiers, enhance readiness and increase the Army's capabilities," according to a CMU press release.

It's first priorities are getting AI into humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, per CMU, as well as situational awareness and equipment maintenance. Army Secretary Mark Esper said in a press release that the task force and AFC will "identify existing and ongoing machine learning initiatives within the Army" and "identify a framework...for implementation of small machine learning projects" that can eventually pave the way for larger projects.

But some have concerns over how AI could be used in war, and eventually civilian law enforcement activities. Sure, SkyNet may be a work of fiction, but advocacy director at the Arms Division of Human Rights Watch, Mary Wareham, NEXTpittsburgh that things "are going to get out of hand" without explicit guidelines in place.

"We need to prevent the development of weapons systems that lack significant human control," Wareham said.

While CMU President Farnam Jahanian previously said that conversations about the ethical applications of AI within the military is one of the "important benefits" of having the task force working out of CMU, those concerns extend beyond the Pentagon The issue of "killer robots" came up last fall during U.N. meetings in Geneva, when the U.S. joined Russia, Israel, and others to block talks on a potential ban on fully autonomous weapons.

Silicon Valley has also had to confront the idea of developing AI for the military; Google said last year that the company would not develop AI for "weapons or other technologies whose principal purpose or implementation is to cause or directly facilitate injury to people," according to Wired.

But don't expect the Army to shy away from the research. At the task force's launch at CMU, NEXTpittsburgh reports that Espert said "lots of countries...would do this stuff regardless of what the international community says."

AI will eventually be "in everything we do" whether we're ready for it or not, but Army Futures Command commander Gen. John M. Murray said, per NEXTpittsburgh: "It is not a question of if these technologies will change the character of war, it is only a question of when."

SEE ALSO: This Is Not How 'Skynet' Begins, Air Force Says of Artificial Intelligence Efforts

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The M160 Robotic Mine Flail at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. (U.S. Army/Maj. Dan Marchik)

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(U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Bill Dodge)

The amphibious assault ship USS Boxer shot down an Iranian drone Thursday in the Strait of Hormuz, President Donald Trump announced.

"The Boxer took defensive action against an Iranian drone which had closed into a very, very near distance – approximately 1,000 yards – ignoring multiple calls to stand down and was threatening the safety of the ship and the ship's crew," Trump said during a White House ceremony. "The drone was immediately destroyed."

"This is the latest of many provocative and hostile actions by Iran against vessels operating in international waters," he continued. "The United States reserves the right to defend our personnel, our facilities, our interests and calls upon all nations to condemn Iran's attempts to disrupt freedom of navigation and global commerce. I also call on other nations to protect their ships as they go through the Strait and to work with us in the future."

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(U.S. Army/Sgt. Michael L. K. West)

The Army may be celebrating its prized Army Futures Command (AFC) reaching full operational capability, but the organization's leaders still have quite a to-do list in front of them.

AFC commander Gen. John Murray briefed reporters on Thursday alongside Bruce Jette, the Army's Assistant Secretary of Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, on the progress of the Army's modernization roadmap and what's coming down the pipe to help soldiers soldiers win the conflicts of the future.

But while that lawmakers skirted questions on the war in Afghanistan during former Secretary of the Army Mark Esper's confirmation hearing for defense secretary this week, AFC's top priority remains, first and foremost, the soldiers fighting in conflict zones right now.

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The official trailer for Top Gun: Maverick is here, and if you were praying to God there would be another volleyball scene, you are in luck.

Slated to hit theaters in 2020, the sequel to 1986 classic features Tom Cruise back in the role of Maverick, only this time he's a Navy captain behind the stick of an F/A-18 Hornet.

The two-minute trailer features a number of throwbacks to the original Top Gun: There's Maverick pulling the cover off his motorcycle and driving down the flight line, a shirtless volleyballer (there was no way you would have escaped this), and a piano-playing scene with Great Balls of Fire, my man.

Directed by Joseph Kosinski, the film also stars Jon Hamm, Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller, and Ed Harris. The film hits theaters on June 26, 2020.

Watch the trailer below:

Top Gun: Maverick - Official Trailer (2020) - Paramount Pictures www.youtube.com

Marine veteran Brian Tally has been fighting for the last three years.

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