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  #46  
Old 01 Sep 15, 11:38
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Originally Posted by Karri View Post
Also, I don't really understand this panic about AI-killing machines. The truth is that we are nowhere near a functioning AI. There's been some news of robots capable of passing the Turing test, but all they do is find the best answer with the parameters given to them(like search engines do). Of course, I do understand the panic if they are actually planning to deploy such a thing, as it certainly is not capable of any decision making...and by the time we have an AI capable of such a thing(or an AI at all) we will actually be more interested in it than how to use it in war.
The term AI is itself vague and people mean different things when they talk about it in different contexts. We have "functioning AI's", the caveat is that they are specific to certain problem domains. They are better at humans than solving a large number of problems. But when we talk about human intelligence, we talk about an aggregate of many capabilities. For AI research it is more prudent to focus on individual capabilities rather than trying to treat it as a single top down unity. In reality, human intelligence is not this way, it just seems to be when we can't easily understand all of the individual components and how they relate together. We know they are discrete rather than being a single Cartesian "man" controlling everything, because they can break individually! For example, we have sense organs which themselves have specific parts of the brain dedicated to image processing, inversion and object recognition. When the part that is designed to recognize faces is impaired or outright damaged, we call this "Prosopagnosia", and you have people who can physically see the elements of a face, but are unable to recognize it as a face. Inversely, sometimes the part of the brain that reognizes faces is working "too" well, and starts spotting them where they don't exist. This is one variety of "pareidolia", giving us the infamous "faces on Mars" and images of Jesus on a toasted sandwich.

There has long been a perception that we are not making any strides "towards AI", but the reality is that AI development is largely invisible to the general public. Whenever a commercial application of artificial intelligence happens, it is no longer called AI. Automated logistics / just in time delivery systems are developments of artificial intelligence research in the mid-late 20th century. Search engines, something you yourself mention here as an example of something which is not AI, is also something that was itself the product of AI research and uses AI techniques. Indeed, my own thesis was on the subject of AI using search techniques on a problem space for use in the treatment of specific phobia.

We call this "the AI effect", as explained consicely here:

Quote:
James Hogan in his book, Mind Matters, has his own explanation of the AI Effect:

"AI researchers talk about a peculiar phenomenon known as the "AI effect." At the outset of a project, the goal is to entice a performance from machines in some designated area that everyone agrees would require "intelligence" if done by a human. If the project fails, it becomes a target of derision to be pointed at by the skeptics as an example of the absurdity of the idea that AI could be possible. If it succeeds, with the process demystified and its inner workings laid bare as lines of prosaic computer code, the subject is dismissed as "not really all that intelligent after all." Perhaps ... the real threat that we resist is the further demystification of ourselves...It seems to happen repeatedly that a line of AI work ... finds itself being diverted in such a direction that ... the measures that were supposed to mark its attainment are demonstrated brilliantly. Then, the resulting new knowledge typically stimulates demands for application of it and a burgeoning industry, market, and additional facet to our way of life comes into being, which within a decade we take for granted; but by then, of course, it isn't AI."
I guess what my rambling post here is trying to say is this - we do not have the capability to replicate every aspect of human intelligence. However that is not strictly necessary for many useful applications, and replicating "some" of them is enough for say, an autonomous combat robot that shoots targets it identifies itself. In fact, in some spaces (like air combat) we could almost use off the shelf technology to produce a reasonable fascimile of this. You could build a flying drone right now capable of integrating with IFF technology and enforcing a no-fly zone. With no pilot to worry about we might actually be able to create jets that pull insane maneuvers that would black out any normal person.
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Old 01 Sep 15, 11:51
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Originally Posted by ThoseDeafMutes View Post

What I'm saying is also relevant to this:



I fundamentally disagree that there is anything special about human intelligence, which includes ill defined concepts like intuition. Autonomous systems are not presently able to replicate all human capabilities, but some day they will, and exceed them in every respect. Well unless we get wiped by an asteroid or something before then.

I agree that this was a poor example, but one that came to mind as it is commonly referred to by special ops personnel. My point was that machines do not have "situational awareness" in the sense that we do, nor should we rely on them for that critical element.

If a machine identifies a young boy carrying a weapon, is he classified as an enemy to be shot or as a child who is not part of the action? A human can make that distinction on the fly using visual cues, situational awareness and experience in similar situations, and can decide to override his own immediate decision if necessary if the situation warrants it.

What I'm saying, I guess, is that humans still need to be the critical end point of any decision loop, and that machines have limits.
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Old 01 Sep 15, 11:55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThoseDeafMutes View Post


I guess what my rambling post here is trying to say is this - we do not have the capability to replicate every aspect of human intelligence. However that is not strictly necessary for many useful applications, and replicating "some" of them is enough for say, an autonomous combat robot that shoots targets it identifies itself. In fact, in some spaces (like air combat) we could almost use off the shelf technology to produce a reasonable fascimile of this. You could build a flying drone right now capable of integrating with IFF technology and enforcing a no-fly zone. With no pilot to worry about we might actually be able to create jets that pull insane maneuvers that would black out any normal person.
Again, I must disagree. There are numerous instances of errors by pilots entering no fly zones that have resulted in needless deaths. An automated system removes human judgement from the loop.

Of course you can set up a system that automatically kills a target that enters a given zone, but should you? Would you do it at the Mexican border? Can the system sort out a narco-terrorist from a young girl, or do it simply kill them all and let some distance monitoring bureaucrat sort them out later?

I don't think we can do this without advanced AI beyond our capabilities at this point in time, nor do I think that we should. Machines that kill autonomously are dangerous to their users as well as their targets.
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Old 01 Sep 15, 12:26
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Originally Posted by ThoseDeafMutes View Post
we do not have the capability to replicate every aspect of human intelligence. However that is not strictly necessary for many useful applications, and replicating "some" of them...
Interesting argument in general. The problem I see with it is the reason why we lack the capability to replicate everything a human brain does. It is that some of it we can't accurately describe ourselves, and what you cannot describe, you cannot code. Intelligence, as any "IQ" tester will tell you, isn't just raw analytical power. It takes study, experience, social interaction and whatnot.
So do we want an "operator" whose "brain" does not include all those parts of our brains whose workings we can't really describe? If that operator is entrusted with vacuum cleaning the floors, yes. Dealing with decisions that end human lives? Hmmm.
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  #50  
Old 01 Sep 15, 19:37
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Originally Posted by Mountain Man View Post
I agree that this was a poor example, but one that came to mind as it is commonly referred to by special ops personnel. My point was that machines do not have "situational awareness" in the sense that we do, nor should we rely on them for that critical element.

If a machine identifies a young boy carrying a weapon, is he classified as an enemy to be shot or as a child who is not part of the action? A human can make that distinction on the fly using visual cues, situational awareness and experience in similar situations, and can decide to override his own immediate decision if necessary if the situation warrants it.

What I'm saying, I guess, is that humans still need to be the critical end point of any decision loop, and that machines have limits.
I should think that it is apparent humans have limits too, and the quality of human decision making varies wildly, and that they make mistakes on a routine basis. The classification of an enemy child soldier is not really problematic - identifying them as children is slightly fuzzy, just like it is at some points for humans (e.g. the difficulty of telling apart somebody at ages 15-19 in some cases) but otherwise this is just a technical issue on the part of image recognition. At long range they may not notice them being young, but that's true of humans in a lot of cases. Certainly the armies of the world have blown up a lot of children in history, even recent history.

The choice of how to respond to a child soldier can be specified by rules of engagement. If the RoE says try to talk them down and only only return fire, it can do this. If the RoE says anybody with a gun in a combat zone is considered fair game, it can do that too. If the RoE says to radio command for a decision in case of encountering child soldiers, it can also do that.

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Originally Posted by Mountain Man View Post
Again, I must disagree. There are numerous instances of errors by pilots entering no fly zones that have resulted in needless deaths. An automated system removes human judgement from the loop.

Of course you can set up a system that automatically kills a target that enters a given zone, but should you? Would you do it at the Mexican border? Can the system sort out a narco-terrorist from a young girl, or do it simply kill them all and let some distance monitoring bureaucrat sort them out later?

I don't think we can do this without advanced AI beyond our capabilities at this point in time, nor do I think that we should. Machines that kill autonomously are dangerous to their users as well as their targets.
The idea of a no fly zone was floated as something we could do now on the grounds that it eliminates much of the ambiguity. Autonomous flight is relatively easy compared to driving and walking, the amount of targets in the sky is relatively small, and the rules for a no fly zone are fairly simple. To do something much more complicated the software and hardware needs to be improved. But the smarter they get, the less human intervention is required. Right now, and in the next five to ten years, we certainly need humans in the loop. But this is a limitation on current and near future tech, not a general principle that will be true forever. What I am describing previously ITT is a slow, phased transition of "more human intervention" to "less human intervention" as the technology improves. Since humans have human level intelligence, we know that human level intelligence is possible! It's just a matter of figuring out the details one step at a time, and that's a road we're already much farther down than many people realise (which is what I'm talking about previously re: the AI effect).

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Originally Posted by Michele View Post
Interesting argument in general. The problem I see with it is the reason why we lack the capability to replicate everything a human brain does. It is that some of it we can't accurately describe ourselves, and what you cannot describe, you cannot code. Intelligence, as any "IQ" tester will tell you, isn't just raw analytical power. It takes study, experience, social interaction and whatnot.
So do we want an "operator" whose "brain" does not include all those parts of our brains whose workings we can't really describe? If that operator is entrusted with vacuum cleaning the floors, yes. Dealing with decisions that end human lives? Hmmm.
We lack the ability to replicate it currently, no argument. But are you suggesting we lack the ability to ever replicate it? I don't think we need anything close to full replication as it happens, just enough to identify people and weapon systems on the battlefield (already well on the way to this capability with current tech, although still needs improvement), the ability to manoeuvre through a battlefield (already solved in the air, work in progress on the ground), the capability of acquiring targeting solutions and aiming weapons (solved), and the capability of following ROE. For the moment we would want to include a human operator in the loop to confirm the system's decisions, but its mainly a matter of battle testing systems like this to see how they go.

For "strong AI", I think we're a solid 30+ years away from that. But autonomous ground vehicles suitable for operating in urban environments, I think we're more like 10-12 away from that being feasible.
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Old 01 Sep 15, 22:17
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Load indicators have been around since automatic weapons were first developed. The Savage rifle and the Luger both had them, for example. So did the M1 Garand. These can be useful, as you point out, but the problem with the rest of the concept is informational overload.

In the midst of combat, a squad leader or platoon leader cannot properly monitor what is happening to his entire unit and still conduct himself properly and safely at the same time. There seems to be a very real danger of over-teching American combat troops when they are fighting against low tech 4G forces who are beating them despite all of the gadgets in use.

The AK-series, for example, are superb weapons using no tech at all, yet they have been mastered by people who also are low tech and used repeatedly to defeat us, so I'm not seeing any real evidence that increasing the tech load on our soldiers is the real answer.
Yes, I understand that load indicators exist already but not one that integrated, say into the bottom left corner of your eyepro and divided by rounds left in loadout. That way a soldier doesn't even need to look down or worry about counting how many rounds he has left. A quick glance in a pause and you know, back to fighting. I also understand the fear of information overload but every new generation is quickly absorbing new tech as easy as catching a ball or riding a bike. That makes potential new recruits already adapted to having more information readily accessible. Look at video games these days and compare them to games of the 80's. Its night and day, especially with new virtual reality goggles and sensory inputs that are adapted into modern games with graphics that make it more and more real each year. With children being born with access to every type of electronic gadget available they are even more used to increased information load before they enter school. So I'm having a hard time seeing how increasing a soldiers "access" to information is bad. I'm not saying it is always on, but that it is available to each soldier when they can access it or if they need it. This type of info can give the edge when the soldiers are properly trained how to utilize it without giving up their own natural situational awareness.
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Old 02 Sep 15, 05:18
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Originally Posted by ThoseDeafMutes View Post
We lack the ability to replicate it currently, no argument. But are you suggesting we lack the ability to ever replicate it?
No. I just don't know.

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I don't think we need anything close to full replication as it happens, just enough to identify people and weapon systems on the battlefield (already well on the way to this capability with current tech, although still needs improvement), the ability to manoeuvre through a battlefield (already solved in the air, work in progress on the ground), the capability of acquiring targeting solutions and aiming weapons (solved), and the capability of following ROE.
I'm more inclined to think that it would be better if we had that full replication.
Then again, this would open a can of worms far greater than a battlefield. Transhuman Space anyone? Sapient AIs' rights?
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Old 05 Sep 15, 03:20
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V weapons were not drones because the key characteristic of a drone is that its flight and actions are remotely controlled, V weapons were 'fire and forget'.

I think the USAF started using strategic recon drones in the 1950s, the UK Army has been using recon drones continuously since about 1964 and the German Army since about 1972.
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Old 05 Sep 15, 12:20
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Does anyone think that China may have plans for an anti-shipping drone?

They can send huge numbers of these, and attack with anti-shipping missiles.

Ain't that why The Navy wants that new laser cannon?
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Old 05 Sep 15, 13:02
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frtigern View Post
Yes, I understand that load indicators exist already but not one that integrated, say into the bottom left corner of your eyepro and divided by rounds left in loadout. That way a soldier doesn't even need to look down or worry about counting how many rounds he has left. A quick glance in a pause and you know, back to fighting. I also understand the fear of information overload but every new generation is quickly absorbing new tech as easy as catching a ball or riding a bike. That makes potential new recruits already adapted to having more information readily accessible. Look at video games these days and compare them to games of the 80's. Its night and day, especially with new virtual reality goggles and sensory inputs that are adapted into modern games with graphics that make it more and more real each year. With children being born with access to every type of electronic gadget available they are even more used to increased information load before they enter school. So I'm having a hard time seeing how increasing a soldiers "access" to information is bad. I'm not saying it is always on, but that it is available to each soldier when they can access it or if they need it. This type of info can give the edge when the soldiers are properly trained how to utilize it without giving up their own natural situational awareness.
Point well made and taken.

Looks like we're heading for a "video game" gap in the future.

Here's another thought for your consideration: Does using autonomous combat units remove the stigma of killing by depersonalizing it the way video games do?

Are we creating a breed of lethal combat troops who have no emotional connection to the actions that they take?
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Old 05 Sep 15, 13:26
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Are we creating a breed of lethal combat troops who have no emotional connection to the actions that they take?
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I would certainly hope so.
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Old 05 Sep 15, 13:40
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Why? Killing is a serious business, so why would you want a group of people trained to simply kill without any thought of what they have done?

If that is the goal, just recruit the sociopaths in our prisons and train them to do it.

The Nazis liked sociopaths in the ranks, and it didn't do them any good; it led to war crimes against humanity.

A conscience is a necessary part of a warrior's armament and makeup.
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Old 05 Sep 15, 15:56
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Why? Killing is a serious business, so why would you want a group of people trained to simply kill without any thought of what they have done?

If that is the goal, just recruit the sociopaths in our prisons and train them to do it.

The Nazis liked sociopaths in the ranks, and it didn't do them any good; it led to war crimes against humanity.

A conscience is a necessary part of a warrior's armament and makeup.
Following orders is the soldiers job. Questioning orders is not acceptable.
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Old 05 Sep 15, 16:21
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Does anyone think that China may have plans for an anti-shipping drone?
They already have them. They are called cruise missiles.

...

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Ain't that why The Navy wants that new laser cannon?
Yes. An anti-aircraft/anti-missile weapons that does not run out of ammo until the ship is literally out of fuel. Better able to defend against saturation attacks.
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Old 05 Sep 15, 16:27
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All serious issues.

Probably the best debate we've had so far on this topic.

One point I'd like to raise is the disparity in consequences of using robotic weapons in relation to who the user is. Last week's huge military parades in China brought this scenario to mind; if the Chinese government had possessed some form of autonomous AFVs when the video below was shot, how do you think it would have turned out?

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