‘Terminators’ will be built by our enemies, says top US military chief

© Tyrone Siu
The future of war will involve autonomous robots instead of humans, according to Air Force General and Vice Chair of the Joint of Chiefs of Staff Paul Selva, who warned enemies could build “Terminator”-like machines to fight in battlefields.

Speaking at the think-tank Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, Selva said the technology could be developed in 10 years - and that the world’s biggest military should punish anyone who pursues such weapons.

“This is about an entirely robotic system, completely autonomous, [that is] not dependent on the human decision,” Selva said. “We’re told by the technologists that we’re a decade or so away from that capability.”

“I don’t think it’s impossible that somebody will try to build a completely autonomous system, and I’m not talking about something like a cruise missile … or a mine that requires a human to target it and release it and it goes and finds its target,” Selva said. “I’m talking about a wholly-robotic system that decides whether or not, at the point of decision, it’s going to do lethal ops.”

While the technology for creating an army of ‘Terminators’ is not yet available, the US has been testing  ‘Multipurpose Unmanned Tactical Transports’ (MUTT) in the Pacific.

These machines can’t autonomously fire weapons, but are able to assist soldiers in their work by carrying weapons and conducting surveillance.

Israel has also developed self-driving vehicles which have been patrolling its borders since July and will soon fit them with weapons.

While the weapons will be remotely deployed by the IDF, Mainichi reports that “it is technologically possible to give the machines' artificial intelligence (AI) systems control of weapons as well.”

Selva called for the US to use international law to prevent such weapon development, but pointed to similar laws being violated: “In spite of the fact that we don’t approve of chemical or biological weapons, we know there are entities — both states and non-states—that continue to pursue that capability in our world.”

While Selva was likely referring to Syria’s use of chemical weapons, he could also have been referring to Israel’s use of white phosphorus in 2008-2009, or even its own use of the nasty substance in Fallujah in 2004.

“In spite of the fact that we say we won’t kill women and children, we know there are entities in this world—state and non-state—that don’t care,” the general said.

The CSIS ‘think tank’ was recently criticized by the New York Times for pushing an expansion of drone sales while being funded by General Atomics and other UAV manufacturers.

The group is also funded by Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Haliburton, Aramco, Exxon Mobil, and other war profiteers as well as the United Arab Emirates.