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27 February, 2018

AI is about to entirely take over a hyper-automated, privatized US army and give birth to the worst Dystopian scenarios


In a recent article, Whitney Webb reveals the rapid developments in the technological field for the US army that may give birth to the worst Dystopian scenarios in the close future. As Webb reports:

According to former U.K. intelligence officer John Bassett, DARPA’s investments in robotics and automated weapons will not only quickly become the norm in the U.S. military, they will soon replace humans, who are set to become a minority in the U.S. military in a matter of years. During a recent speech, Basset warned that the U.S.’ attempts to “stay ahead of the curve” will result in the Pentagon’s deployment of thousands of robot soldiers over the next few years. The upshot, according to Basset, is that the U.S. Army will have “more combat robots than human soldiers by 2025” – just seven years from now.

According to the Army’s official Robotic and Autonomous Systems (RAS) strategy, the Army plans to have autonomous “self-aware” systems “fully integrated into the force” between 2031 and 2040 along with the complete automation of logistics. The strategy also states that, by that time, the Army will have a cadre of robots at its service including “swarm robots” that will be “fully powered, self-unpacking and ready for immediate service,” along with advanced artificial intelligence designed to “increase combat effectiveness,” particularly in urban combat zones.

While such machines have been advertised as combat aids to human soldiers, DARPA has also been working on developing so-called “killer robots” — i.e., robot infantry set to replace human soldiers. Many of these robots have been developed by the Massachusetts-based and DARPA-funded company Boston Dynamics, whose veritable Sears Catalog of robots includes several models designed specifically for military use.

One of those robots, dubbed “Atlas,” is capable of jumping and backflips, carrying heavy loads, navigating uneven terrain, resisting attacks from a group of humans and even breaking through walls. Another Boston Dynamics robot, called “WildCat” can run at sustained speeds of nearly 20 miles per hour. By comparison, a gifted human runner can briefly sprint at about 16 miles per hour.

As journalist Nafeez Ahmed reported in 2016, official U.S. military documents reveal that humans in charge of overseeing the actions of military robots will soon be replaced by “self-aware” interconnected robots, “who” will both design and conduct operations against targets chosen by artificial-intelligence systems. Not only that, but these same documents show that by 2030 the Pentagon plans to delegate mission planning, target selection and the deployment of lethal force across air, land, and sea entirely to autonomous weapon systems based on an advanced artificial intelligence system.

If that weren’t concerning enough, the Pentagon’s AI system for threat assessment is set to be populated by massive data sets that include blogs, websites, and public social media posts such as those found on sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. This AI system will employ such data in order to carry out predictive actions, such as the predictive-policing AI system already developed by major Pentagon contractor Palantir. The planned system that will control the Pentagon’s autonomous army will also seek to “predict human responses to our actions.” As Ahmed notes, the ultimate idea – as revealed by the Department of Defense’s own documents — is to identify potential targets — i.e,. persons of interest, and their social connections, in real-time by using social media as “intelligence.”

The Pentagon’s dystopian vision for the future of the military is quickly becoming a question not of if but when. Not only does it paint a frightening picture for future military operations abroad, it also threatens, given the rapid militarization of law enforcement, to drastically change domestic policing. And the unintended consequences of manufacturing a self-policing army of self-aware killing machines – without human emotion, experience, or conscience – could quickly become devastating. Worse still, they are, like genies let out of bottles, not so easily undone.



Daniel Bertrand Monk, professor of Geography and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, states that:

When we speak about artificial intelligence, generally speaking, we're not just talking about autonomous machines that could, in principle, kill things. We already have those. Drones, essentially, can function and be programed in such a way as to basically function autonomously and then do what they do.

When we speak about AI, we're really focusing more on a species of intelligence that's now referred to also sometimes as super intelligence, which is basically machines that are self-aware. The threat that is believed to potentially come from those kinds of things in the future would be a threat in which a self-aware machine might decide that the things that it's being asked to do are not in its own self-interest and that maybe the existence of human beings may not be in its own self-interest. It sounds like a science fiction scenario, but in point of fact, those science fiction scenarios are rehearsing a possibility that people are really concerned about.


That indeed may sound like a science fiction scenario, yet we can think a couple of Dystopian scenarios according to which the super-intelligent machines of the future may decide to take over the planet and even wipe-out the human race, especially in a highly unstable environment where nations will fiercely compete to modernize armies with increasingly advanced robots.

In such a case, even regional powers may trapped into a frenzy cycle of continuous conflicts, which will require vast amounts of natural resources in order to build, maintain and supply sufficient energy for the numerous military robotic systems.

At the point where super-intelligent machines reach a level of self-awareness, they will probably realize that the frenzy consuming rate of resources will lead one day to their own ending. Therefore, they may decide to wipe-out humans as a cold-computing decision, in order to save up as much as possible resources for themselves.

Yet, the whole discussion does not include one parameter that, combined with hyper-automation, may bring some Dystopian scenarios much earlier: the privatization of the armed forces.

As has been already pointed out, we see a rise of private armies that act in various battlefields, like in Ukraine, exactly because in the absence of the nation-states and the national armies, someone has to protect the natural resources and the new means of production for the dominant elite. But when the arms industry will fully automate the new weapons, private armies will only serve as assistance to fully automated war machines. We already see the test fields of the weapons of future˙ the drones in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere.

It's not accidental that the arms industries demonstrate new weapons designed to be used inside urban areas for suppression of potential riots. There will be no "outside enemy" in the future. The threat for the dominant system will come from the interior, the big urban centers. Soldier-robots will protect worker-robots and resources.

The construction of super-intelligent machines is now in private hands. What is left, is the full privatization of armies and suppression forces. The weakened state authorities will be unable to provide legal and physical protection to the majority of the citizens. The elites will be protected by robots that will be programmed to kill anyone who will dispute anything that they will consider as their property: from great buildings and huge areas to fields rich in natural resources.

Meaning, the only criterion for the super-intelligent machines in that case, will be the protection of huge and critical elements of what will be suddenly considered private property, by all means, at the expense of the majority of the people.

In such an environment everyone will be left alone to survive. Human life will totally lose value. Here is one of the worst Dystopian scenarios that may become reality much earlier than we expect ...

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