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

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

Sweden Recognizes Palestinian State; Israel Upset
2014 10 31
Sweden on Thursday became the biggest Western European country to recognize a Palestinian state, prompting a strong protest from Israel, which swiftly withdrew its ambassador from Stockholm. The move by Sweden’s new left-leaning government reflects growing international impatience with Israel’s nearly half-century control of the West Bank, east Jerusalem and its blockade of the Gaza Strip. It also comes during increased ...
Fed-Backed Study: How to Brainwash Public into Fearing “Climate Change” Like Ebola
2014 10 31
$84K study seeks ways to make public fear "climate change and overpopulation" The National Science Foundation is funding a study to determine how to brainwash the public into fearing “climate change and overpopulation” as if they were Ebola. The NSF awarded an $84,000 grant to researchers at the State University of New York at Buffalo yesterday to figure out how to make ...
Brain decoder can eavesdrop on your inner voice
2014 10 31
As you read this, your neurons are firing – that brain activity can now be decoded to reveal the silent words in your head TALKING to yourself used to be a strictly private pastime. That’s no longer the case – researchers have eavesdropped on our internal monologue for the first time. The achievement is a step towards helping people who cannot ...
6 Million Lies
2014 10 30
“If you do not specify and confront real issues, what you say will surely obscure them. If you do not alarm anyone morally, you yourself remain morally asleep. If you do not embody controversy, what you say will be an acceptance of the drift of the coming hell.” C Wright Mills. I need to share information I have discovered ...
Google’s New Computer With Human-Like Learning Abilities Will Program Itself
2014 10 30
In college, it wasn’t rare to hear a verbal battle regarding artificial intelligence erupt between my friends studying neuroscience and my friends studying computer science. One rather outrageous fellow would mention the possibility of a computer takeover, and off they went. The neuroscience-savvy would awe at the potential of such hybrid technology as the CS majors argued we have nothing to ...
More News »