30 May, 2008

Skynet? Really?

I like the BBC; I get a lot of my news from them. I was suprised when I saw the headlines that the British Military is launching Skynet.
Now, I thought Terminator was a brilliant concept. And I am interested enough in artificial intelligence to stay abreast of the current (declassified) capabilities of it. I know it is probably not sophisticated enough to declare war on us yet.
However, they are already using artificial intelligence to man some weapons systems. They have since the early 90’s actually. The Patriot missile system relied on AI to shoot down SCUDs during the Gulf War. Those systems not manned by AI (in Israel) were not effective in stopping the SCUDS, which is why Israel got hit so often.
The new system is designed, in part, to control the armed aerial drones called Reapers. I just think that is too much responsibility placed into the circuitry of a machine. It makes killing too easy. It also makes the results of a computer glitch more deadly.
I am not (quite) paranoid enough to think that we are on the verge of a takeover by AI. But why would anyone want to name their network after the one in such a fine movie that was responsible for the destruction of the human race? That is like building a home service robot and calling it a Cylon.

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