Left unchecked, artificial intelligence will eventually subsume all areas of life on earth, including health, population management and warfare. As the wounded are harvested from battlefields, AI is now sought for performing triage to decide which soldiers to treat first who are deemed to be “savable,” potentially leaving others to die. — Technocracy News & Trends Editor Patrick Wood
When a suicide bomber attacked Kabul International Airport in August last year, the death and destruction was overwhelming: The violence left 183 people dead, including 13 U.S. soldiers.
This kind of mass casualty event can be particularly daunting for field workers. Hundreds of people need care, the hospitals nearby have limited room, and decisions on who gets care first and who can wait need to be made quickly. Often, the answer isn’t clear, and people disagree.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) – the innovation arm of the U.S. military – is aiming to answer these thorny questions by outsourcing the decision-making process to artificial intelligence. Through a new program, called In the Moment, it wants to develop technology that would make quick decisions in stressful situations using algorithms and data, arguing that removing human biases may save lives, according to details from the program’s launch this month.
Though the program is in its infancy, it comes as other countries try to update a centuries-old system of medical triage, and as the U.S. military increasingly leans on technology to limit human error in war. But the solution raises red flags among some experts and ethicists who wonder if AI should be involved when lives are at stake.
“AI is great at counting things,” Sally A. Applin, a research fellow and consultant who studies the intersection between people, algorithms and ethics, said in reference to the DARPA program. “But I think it could set a precedent by which the decision for someone’s life is put in the hands of a machine.”
Founded in 1958 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, DARPA is among the most influential organizations in technology research, spawning projects that have played a role in numerous innovations, including the Internet, GPS, weather satellites and, more recently, Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine.
But its history with AI has mirrored the field’s ups and downs. In 1960s, the agency made advances in natural language processing, and getting computers to play games such as chess. During the 1970s and 1980s, progress stalled, notably due to the limits in computing power.
Since the 2000s, as graphics cards have improved, computing power has become cheaper and cloud computing has boomed, the agency has seen a resurgence in using artificial intelligence for military applications. In 2018, it dedicated $2 billion, through a program called AI Next, to incorporate AI in over 60 defense projects, signifying how central the science could be for future fighters.
Full article: Military Looks For AI To Replace Decision-Making On Battlefield