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Artificial Intelligence in the Military

Essay by   •  December 19, 2010  •  Research Paper  •  771 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,690 Views

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1. Introduction

This report aims to investigate the use of Artificial Intelligence in the military and examine what research is underway to further this technology. It will also consider the moral and ethical implications associated.

2. Background

Ever since the invention of the catapult, warfare has been the main driving force behind the advancement of technology. The military has played a main role in researching new technologies and their work has led the way for significant advancements in other fields. Many great inventions, including the Internet, have been made from military funded research. The driving force has been the escalation of weaponry. If you don't have something your enemy does, you are very often at a disadvantage. Computers were first developed to calculate missile trajectories and break enemy codes. With this in mind it can be said that the military has been and will continue to be AI's main driving force.

The use of such technology opens up endless possibilities in the military. Currently AI robots are mainly used to find roadside bombs, search caves, and act as armed sentries, and they have the potential to do so much more.

3. Definition

AI in the military is defined as any system which uses the help of 'intelligent' machines to complete tasks. When people think of Artificial Intelligence in this area, images of Terminator-like killing machines automatically spring to mind. However, not all AI relates directly to the battlefield and it can server much more passive purposes.

For example, the US Military has developed a computer game that uses AI to teach new recruits how to speak Arabic. In the program soldiers complete game missions where they must be able to understand and speak the language to succeed. The game works by using speech recognition technology to evaluate the soldier's words and identify common errors. It then keeps track of what he's learned and what he hasn't in order to provide unique feedback for the soldier's specific problems. Those who are working on this project believe that it will change the face of all language learning and similar programs will become mainstream sometime in the near future.

4. Research being undertaken

Research is currently underway by the US Military to create automated vehicles. Machines already have the ability to see the world around them and read a map. In theory, well enough to be able to drive from point to point without the need for human assistance.

However, when the Pentagon first sponsored a competition for prototype-automated vehicles in the Mojave Desert in 2004, none of the fifteen entries crossed the finish line. The following year, a car built by students at Stanford University successfully completed the 131 mile course. The car completed the race without any human interaction, using only onboard computers and sensors to navigate the terrain. The location of the race was designed to mimic combat conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan. This accomplishment is an encouraging sign for the development of this technology, given that great strides had been made in only one year.

The military was once trying to reproduce humans in the form of machines but now is taking a much more practical approach to making AI work for them. They are moving away somewhat from Terminator-style machines. Now the focus is on specific applications that use AI principles to tackle relatively boring, repetitive tasks.

An example of such a task is data mining. Data mining involves



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