AI software beats real pilot in simulated dogfight

The Terminator is coming: In a DARPA competition between a number of AI software teams, the finalist AI team, called Heron Systems, went up against a real F-16 pilot in a simulated dogfight and went undefeated, beating him five times in a row.

Heron Systems, a company with just 30 employees, had beaten out Aurora Flight Sciences, EpiSys Science, Georgia Tech Research Institute, Lockheed Martin, Perspecta Labs, PhysicsAI, and SoarTech to claim the top spot in the last of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) AlphaDogfight Trials. This three-day event had started on Aug. 18, 2020.

The software then beat the real pilot.

There is a lot of blather on the website, though there is this interesting analysis by F/A-18 Squadron commander that in the end concludes that we are only a generation or two away from making all fighter pilots obsolete.

Or to look at it from another perspective, we are only a short time away from putting the ability to fight war entirely into the hands of computers and software, with abilities that humans will not be able to match.

Does no one but me see the potential problems with this? Have all of these military experts never seen any science fiction movies or read any science fiction novels?

Hat tip Tom Biggar.

Pentagon test flies a swarm of 100 micro-drones

Sci-fi comes to life! The Pentagon in October test flew a swarm of 103 micro-drones, showing that they could work as a unit in a coordinated manner in targeting specific points.

“ Due to the complex nature of combat, Perdix are not pre-programmed synchronized individuals. They are a collective organism, sharing one distributed brain for decision-making and adapting to each other like swarms in nature,” said SCO Director William Roper. “Because every Perdix communicates and collaborates with every other Perdix, the swarm has no leader and can gracefully adapt to drones entering or exiting the team.”

Video of the test flight is embedded below the fold. I can imagine these drone swarms used in a number of very unpleasant ways, all of which have been portrayed in sci-fi movies and books.
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