Longtime readers are probably well aware of the trajectory we have been on toward fully autonomous military systems, including robots, drones and a range of AI-enhanced weapons systems.
There have been many new developments over the last few months which indicate that full automation is beginning to arrive, heralding a new chapter in the race to infuse robotic systems with artificial intelligence capable of operating without human input.
The latest news seen in the video below comes from the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Baltimore, MD where the Army Research Laboratory is beginning to test autonomous vehicles over harsh terrain in conditions where these vehicles previously had experienced difficulty.
Naturally, one would imagine that these systems will first be deployed overseas, but it’s nevertheless unsettling that the U.S. has been chosen as the staging ground. We can’t forget the initial outrage when it was first uncovered more than a decade ago that aerial drones were being tested in United States. After first being decried as conspiracy theory, it was later admitted to but given the assurance that they would not be deployed in U.S. airspace. While we still have not encountered weaponized drones over the U.S., aerial surveillance systems have become ubiquitous within the “Constitution-free Zone” that delineates border control around the country up to 100 miles inland.
We’ve also seen U.S. police beginning to adopt an increasing number of robots. How much longer do we have until autonomous military systems will become “justified” for use inside the United States? Given the rising rhetoric of equating political opposition to domestic terrorists, it might be sooner than most people think.