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the Russian army increases its pressure on the disputed town of Avdiïvka, which marks the front line in the East

Artificial intelligence is changing warfare

Robots, drones, torpedoes… Thanks to technologies ranging from computer vision to sophisticated sensors, all kinds of weapons can be transformed into autonomous systems governed by AI algorithms. Autonomy does not mean that a weapon “wakes up in the morning and decides to go to war”tempers Stuart Russell, professor of computer science at the University of California at Berkeley to Agence France-Presse (AFP). “This means they have the ability to locate, select and attack human targets without human intervention. »

These lethal autonomous weapons systems are also nicknamed “killer robots”a formula that evokes androids straight from science fiction. “This is one of the options explored, but in my opinion it is the least useful of all”, notes the specialist. Most of these weapons are still ideas or prototypes, but Russia’s war in Ukraine offers a glimpse of their potential.

Due to telecommunications problems, armies have been pushed to make their drones more autonomous. As a result, “people are taking refuge underground”notes Stuart Russell, and this foreshadows a major change in the nature of war, “where being visible anywhere on the battlefield will be a death sentence”.

Autonomous weapons have several potential advantages: efficiency, mass production at reduced costs, absence of human emotions such as fear or anger, absence of radioactive craters in their wake… But they raise major ethical questions in terms of evaluation and commitment. And especially “since it doesn’t require human supervision, you can launch as many as you want”underlines Stuart Russell, “and therefore potentially destroy an entire city or an entire ethnic group at once”.

Gn Fr world

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