Security experts have warned congress that enemies of the US could begin using robotic soldiers and artificial intelligence in the next 10 years.
The discussion occurred during a U.S. House Armed Services Committee meeting on Capitol Hill Wednesday titled, “Cyber Warfare in the 21st Century: Threats, Challenges, and Opportunities.”
“There has been lot of speculation … about how soon it will be before robotic soldiers take the place of the fight in the kinetic world,” Rep. Mike Conaway asked the experts at the panel’s hearing. “How soon will A.I. supplant the need … for all these human beings to be able to defend these networks and do what we do?”
Peter Singer, a strategist for the New America Foundation, said brace for Arnold Schwarzeneggers in camouflage.
“It’s not just when is it going to happen, but we don’t yet know is it going to privilege the offense or defense, what are going to be the affects of it,” Singer said, recommending that Congress hold a classified hearing on where the U.S. stands in comparison to likely adversaries on this capability.
“We don’t want to fall behind,” he said.
According to senior research scholar in cyber conflict, Jason Healey from Columbia University, combat squads of cyborgs will be developed within the next 10 years.
“The part of it that particularly worries me the most is that on the defensive side many people are thinking that artificial intelligence, new heuristics, better analytics and automation are going to help the defense, that if only we can roll these things out faster we will be better and the system will be more stable,” he admitted.
He urged the country to focus more on offense.
“I think that these technologies are going to aid the offense much more than it aids the defense because to defend against these kinds of attacks, you need your own super computer,” Healey explained. The senior researcher added that the Department of Defense can afford to develop the super computer systems required to control the new cyborg armies.
Officials expressed concerns that while some public sector entities may be able to afford the computer systems necessary to combat these threats, small and mid-sized enterprises may not be able to afford them, leaving much of the nation unprotected.
Last October, the Washington Post reported that autonomous systems equipped with A.I. are already in increased use by the U.S., Israel, and South Korea.
Although the piece points out advantages such as the ability to save human lives, there are also ambiguous areas related to potential malfunctions and chain of command, among others.