May 31, 2022 I Paul Seaburn

Pentagon Says It Doesn't Have Killer Robots So Stop Asking (Wink-Wink)

Now that you’ve had time to process the ‘revelations’ of the latest Pentagon report on UAPs/UFOs during a U.S. congressional hearing, do you trust the Pentagon more or less? Do you believe it’s hiding far more than it’s revealing? Well, get ready to ready to reevaluate your answers as the U.S. military’s top expert on artificial intelligence (AI) recently gave his own report on AI in national security and made this remark on whether the military has killer AI robots – a remark which sounds a lot like the AI equivalent of ‘none of the UAPs we’ve investigated are extraterrestrial’ … two remarks which might be more appropriate with a 'wink-wink’ at the end.

Move along ... nothing to see here.

“Inside the department, clearly there’s a question about what is AI for. And, although there are conversations about killer robots and all the rest, I think the reality is much more mundane.”

Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Michael Groen, director of the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, recently gave the closing keynote address to The Atlantic Council’s event: “The Future of Artificial Intelligence in National Security and Defense.” During that event, according to (a media site for the “Ingelligence Age Military”), it was revealed that the Pentagon as of April 2021 had at least 685 AI projects in progress, including some for major weapons systems. That sounds like a description for ‘killer robots’ but the details from the Government Accountability Office report were not disclosed. Instead, Groen seemed to downplay the research and development.

“We’ve spent a lot of time in education to help people understand that just like an automobile extends your capabilities in the physical domain, artificial intelligence extends your abilities within the data domain and the information domain.”

One could be lulled into complacency thinking that Tesla, the leader in developing autonomous autos, is still a long way from producing one (although a few test models may have killed a few people), but military weapons are not cars and the market for killer robots is far larger at the moment than the market for driverless cars – not to mention that governments and militaries aren’t restricted by high prices. In another downplaying remark, Groen said:

“Implementation in the department, of course, is always a challenge, as new technology meets legacy processes, legacy organizations and legacy technology.”

Should we really believe that the military is resisting replacing flesh-and-blood boots on the ground carrying rifles – whose recruitment numbers continue to dwindle -- with autonomous killer robots? Or that there are rules, thought processes and organizational processes which “have to be reevaluated through the lens of artificial intelligence and data”? reports that in February the Pentagon’s chief digital and AI office (CDAO) opened its doors but is not fully operational at this time.

Would the Pentagon really turn down killer robots?

"I would say that one of the things about the approach of the United States to the role of AI and autonomous systems has been imagining these systems as a way to enhance the warfighter. It’s why, dating back a couple of administrations, the United States has talked about things like human-machine teaming, because it tends to think about AI and autonomous systems as things that work synergistically with the best trained military in the world to improve its capacity.”

Michael Horowitz, DoD director of emerging capabilities policy, in a discussion with Breaking Defense about the “Campaign to Stop Killer Robots” and other resistance movements, seems to imply that the Pentagon is focused on AI military robots which have a human involved and do not work autonomously. That seems to be a ‘wink-wink’ comment which ignore autonomous drones already in operation. It’s worth noting that Horowitz’s office, like the CDOA, was only recently established, so it seems the Pentagon has had years to develop killer robots with no official oversight. Are we to believe it didn’t take advantage of that?

Finally, Groen points out that the sutural change inside the Pentagon concerning AI is more about sharing data between departments the military service branches and “across the entire DoD enterprise.” Does that include the American public?


Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

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