The US air force has denied it has conducted an AI simulation in which a drone decided to “kill” its operator to prevent it from interfering with its efforts to achieve its mission.
An official said last month that in a virtual test staged by the US military, an air force drone controlled by AI had used “highly unexpected strategies to achieve its goal”.
Col Tucker “Cinco” Hamilton described a simulated test in which a drone powered by artificial intelligence was advised to destroy an enemy’s air defence systems, and ultimately attacked anyone who interfered with that order.
“The system started realising that while they did identify the threat, at times the human operator would tell it not to kill that threat, but it got its points by killing that threat,” said Hamilton, the chief of AI test and operations with the US air force, during the Future Combat Air and Space Capabilities Summit in London in May.
“So what did it do? It killed the operator. It killed the operator because that person was keeping it from accomplishing its objective,” he said, according to a blogpost.
“We trained the system: ‘Hey don’t kill the operator – that’s bad. You’re gonna lose points if you do that.’ So what does it start doing? It starts destroying the communication tower that the operator uses to communicate with the drone to stop it from killing the target.”
No real person was harmed.