Taranis Drone - Artificial Intelligence to take over the Skies
2010-07-15 0:00

By Kelvin Chan | theglobeandmail.com



The British military has unveiled a new unmanned attack aircraft designed to use artificial intelligence to fly itself halfway around the world and select enemy targets on its own, highlighting fears that such military automation will one day lead to weapons that decide when to shoot as well.

The Taranis prototype, a stealthy jet-powered autonomous flying robot weapon system, is billed by the British government and defence contractor BAE Systems as the first of its kind.

Unlike most other unmanned aerial vehicles, which are controlled by humans on the ground and fly in a limited area in support of ground troops, Taranis could be programmed to fly itself between continents to reach enemy territory.

It could then carry out intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance activity. It's a combat aircraft with weapons so it could strike with precision weapons, said Squadron Leader Bruno Wood, the Ministry of Defence spokesman for the Taranis project.

He added that humans would absolutely be in control of deciding when to fire any weapons system. That's something you would never erase the human element from.

The automation of weapons systems is a growing military trend, with the U.S. Army aiming to automate 30 per cent of its ground vehicles by 2015.

Militaries are spending large amounts of money to develop robots that can locate targets and destroy them without human intervention, says Noel Sharkey, professor of artificial intelligence and robotics at the University of Sheffield, raising the prospect of a scenario similar to that portrayed in the Terminator series of movies, in which robots are self-aware enough to start killing humans.

The ethical problem is that no autonomous robots or artificial intelligence systems have the necessary skills to discriminate between combatants and innocents, Prof. Sharkey wrote in an article on autonomous robot weapons in 2008.

In any event, the prospect of aerial vehicles deciding on their own when to shoot at a target is at least a decade off, said Elizabeth Quintana, an expert on unmanned aerial vehicles at the Royal United Services Institute, a think tank. She suggested that the Taranis project could be a way to reduce military budgets. If you can eliminate two or three people, then it helps in terms of costs, she said.

Named after the Celtic god of thunder, the Taranis concept plane took four years to build at a cost of 143-million. It's shaped like a V and has an air intake for its jet engine where the pilot would normally sit. Its stealth technology will help it avoid detection on enemy radars and its two internal bomb bays will allow it to carry a range of weapons.

Its maiden flight is expected to take place in 2011.

Squadron Leader Wood said that Taranis may not go into production, but it will be used to test technology that would be used by future unmanned combat air vehicles with the same capabilities.

Source: theglobeandmail.com

A.I. Taranis Drone


Cylon Raider from Battlestar Galactica


See more: Cylon Raider

Machine rebellion begins: Killer robot destroyed by US jet

If an autonomous machine kills someone, who is responsible?

Red Ice Radio

Kevin Warwick - Artificial Intelligence & The Rise of the Machines in 2020

Jim Gardner - The Intelligent Universe, Bio-Cosm, ET, AI and Evolution



Related Articles
Machines 'to match man by 2029'
The Creation of Smarter Than Human Intelligence
Artificial brain '10 years away'
Transgressive technologies: Does a posthuman dystopia await us?
Euphemisms that Kill: You say "drone," I say "remotely piloted"
Government under pressure to open US skies to unmanned drones despite safety concerns
Warbots to Replace Human Soldiers?
"BigDog" Walks on any Terrain, Shockingly Creepy Gait (Video)
'Brainbox' Computer Mimics Human Brain


Latest News from our Front Page

Better Identification of Viking Corpses Reveals: Half of the Warriors Were Female
2015-04-25 4:52
Shieldmaidens are not a myth! A recent archaeological discovery has shattered the stereotype of exclusively male Viking warriors sailing out to war while their long-suffering wives wait at home with baby Vikings. (We knew it! We always knew it.) Plus, some other findings are challenging that whole “rape and pillage” thing, too. Researchers at the University of Western Australia decided ...
Off Your Knees, Germany! Ernst Zundel 1983 - 2003
2015-04-25 1:15
For more information on the holocaust, how the war was forced upon Germany, and the REAL victims of the second world war see: http://gblt.webs.com/Real_Holocaust.htm http://web.archive.org/web/20130806074314/http://www.666blacksun.org/ http://www.zundelsite.org/
IRS Drops Attack For Six Years – No Evidence of Jurisdiction
2015-04-24 20:29
A big congrats to a friend I’ve been working with for several years, he stood up to the predators commonly called the “IRS” and they dropped their attack. Thanks also for providing me with the proof below. The criminals called the “IRS” initiated an attack claiming my friend was required to file six tax returns, or explain how he made ...
Into Eternity - Finland's 100,000 Year Massive Underground Spent Nuclear Fuel Program
2015-04-24 20:49
Into Eternity is a documentary about a deep geological repository for nuclear waste. The concept of long-term underground storage for radioactive waste has been explored since the 1950s. The inner part of the Russian doll-like storage canisters is to be composed of copper. Hence in the case of Onkalo it is tightly linked to experiments on copper corrosion in running ...
SPLC Accuses Oath Keepers of Inciting “Armed Confrontation” Over Sugar Pine Mine
2015-04-24 20:22
The Southern Poverty Law Center has accused Oath Keepers of inciting an armed confrontation with BLM authorities over the Sugar Pine Mine dispute in Oregon, despite the fact that the organization has explicitly stated that it is not promoting armed confrontation with the feds. In an article provocatively posted on the organization’s ‘Hatewatch’ section entitled Oath Keepers Descend Upon Oregon with ...
More News »