The Impact of AI on Warfare.
It is well known that throughout history man's favourite past time has been to make war. It has always been recognised that the opponent with the better weapons usually came out victorious. Nowadays, there is an increasing dependency, by the more developed nations, on what are called smart weapons and on the development of these weapons. The social impact of AI on warfare is something which needs to be considered very carefully for it raises many ethical and moral issues and arguments. The use of smart weapons raises many questions on the price paid to develop these weapons; money which could be used to solve most of the world's social problems such as poverty, hunger, etc. Another issue is the safety involved in the use of these weapons. Can we really make a weapon that does everything on its own without human help and are these weapons a threat to civilians? The main goal of this essay is to discuss whether it is justifiable to use AI in warfare and to what extent.
The old time dream of making war bloodless by science is finally becoming a reality. The strongest man will not win, but the one with the best machines will. Modernising the weapons used in war has been an issue since the beginning. Nowadays, the military has spent billions of dollars perfecting stealth technology to allow planes to slip past enemy lines undetected. The technology involved in a complicated system such as these fighter planes is immense. The older planes are packed with high tech gear such as micro processors, laser guiding devices, electromagnetic jammers and infrared sensors. With newer planes, the airforce is experimenting with a virtual reality helmet that projects a cartoon like image of the battlefield for the pilot, with flashing symbols for enemy planes. What is more, if a pilot passes out for various reasons such as the "G" force from a tight turn, then a computer system can automatically take over while the pilot is disabled. A recent example of the use of Al in warfare is the Gulf War. In operation Desert Storm, many weapons such as 'smart' Bombs were used. These were highly complex systems which used superior guidance capabilities but they did not contain any expert systems or neural networks.
The development of weapons which use highly complex systems has drastically reduced the number of human casualties in wartime. The bloodshed is minimised because of the accuracy of the computer systems used. This has been an advantage that has brought a lot of praise to the development of such sophisticated (not to mention expensive) weapons. More and more taxpayer's money is invested into research and development of weapons that may never be used. This is because the weapons are mostly for deterrent uses only and no country really wants to use them because of the power which they hold. The problem with using sophisticated computer systems in warfare is that the technology being used may fall into the wrong hands. But who is to say what are the wrong hands? Most people tend to think that if the technology is on their side, then it can not be misused. This has been proven to be false when in the Gulf War a whole battalion of British armoured vehicles were accidentally annihilated by an allied American stealth fighter which contained complex computer systems which were thought to be faultless.
The major problem with the use of highly sophisticated weapons is the cost of development. The best solution to this problem has been found to be the fitting of old B52's with modern technology which is almost as good and gets the job done, all at a minute fraction of the price. The other problem arising from the issue is the control over the development and employment of such weapons. The solution to this problem would be an international control over development and use of weapons by independent organisations such as the United Nations. Also, associations can be formed in order to group all scientists who are involved in the development of the weapons in order to keep track of them. The use of the extremely high tech weapons should be reserved for cases where it is absolutely necessary. Although governments are eager to try out equipment on which they have spent millions and sometimes billions of taxpayer's money, the use of Al is showing proof that it is serving its ultimate purpose: to slowly move men farther and farther from the killing fields.
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