MoA (Moon of Alabama)
This somewhat funny narrative about an ‘Artificial Intelligence’ simulation by the U.S. airforce appeared yesterday and got widely picked up by various mainstream media:
However, perhaps one of the most fascinating presentations came from Col Tucker ‘Cinco’ Hamilton, the Chief of AI Test and Operations, USAF, who provided an insight into the benefits and hazards in more autonomous weapon systems.
He notes that one simulated test saw an AI-enabled drone tasked with a SEAD mission to identify and destroy SAM sites, with the final go/no go given by the human. However, having been ‘reinforced’ in training that destruction of the SAM was the preferred option, the AI then decided that ‘no-go’ decisions from the human were interfering with its higher mission – killing SAMs – and then attacked the operator in the simulation. Said Hamilton: “We were training it in simulation to identify and target a SAM threat. And then the operator would say yes, kill that threat. The system started realising that while they did identify the threat at times the human operator would tell it not to kill that threat, but it got its points by killing that threat. So what did it do? It killed the operator. It killed the operator because that person was keeping it from accomplishing its objective.”He went on: “We trained the system – ‘Hey don’t kill the operator – that’s bad. You’re gonna lose points if you do that’. So what does it start doing? It starts destroying the communication tower that the operator uses to communicate with the drone to stop it from killing the target.”
(SEAD = Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses, SAM = Surface to Air Missile)