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 'Stealth': A.I. out of control

This story is from the category Artificial Intelligence
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Date posted: 28/07/2005

An AI-based unmanned stealth fighter jet, after being hit by lightning, decides to execute a top-secret mission that could result in global thermonuclear war ? the plotline from Stealth, a movie which opened this week.

Might sound far-fetched, and indeed, elements of the plotline are laughable ? such as the very lightning strike that hit the plane, rewiring it in the first place.

However, unmanned fighter aircraft are an attractive idea. Picture it, planes which are assigned a target, and a payload to deliver. No humans are put at risk, and the AI makers its own decisions in getting there, top-notch flying all the way.

The American Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) certainly thinks so.So much so, that they have been running the J-UCAS project for several years now, and have created pilotless aircraft that do just that. They are given a payload, and a target, and off they go, how they get to it is their own problem.

For now, both the Northrop Grumman built X-47A, and Boeing built X-45A prototypes have fly-by-wire built in, so a human can take control remotely if the robots screw up, or paint the wrong building. However, it is likely only a matter of time before robotic killing machines are left to their own devices.

Stealth site: http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/stealth/index.html
J-UCAS site: http://www.darpa.mil/j-ucas/index.htm

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