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21 May, 2018 13:16

India eyes developing autonomous killer robots for military

India eyes developing autonomous killer robots for military

India is assessing whether it needs to develop AI-based weapon systems for the military, capable of identifying and attacking targets without human input. The tech can't be reasoned with and won’t feel pity, remorse or fear.

The 17-member AI task force, which includes officials from the Indian military, defense ministry, arms contractors and research organizations, was formed in February. New Delhi sees AI technologies as potentially reshaping national security and defense and wants to keep up with leaders in the field.

Among the goals which the group works on is “developing intelligent, autonomous robotic systems,” Ajay Kumar, the secretary of the Defense Production Department in the Indian Defense Ministry, told The Times of India.

“The world is moving towards AI-driven warfare. India is also taking necessary steps to prepare our armed forces because AI has the potential to have a transformative impact on national security. The government has set up the AI task force to prepare the roadmap for it,” he said.

The government is expected to start placing initial tenders for AI capabilities with defense application within two years, Kumar added.

AI technologies, or more precisely algorithms using machine learning for better performance, have seen rapid development in the past few years. If adopted by the military, they can be used for automatic target acquisition, automated analysis of intelligence data, improvement of logistics and other tasks.

The same technologies may potentially become superior to humans in some combat roles, beating the organic operators of remotely-controlled weapons in their reaction times and accuracy. But developing fully autonomous weapon systems poses yet-to-be answered questions about moral and legal ramifications of entrusting life-and-death decisions to computer algorithms.

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