‘AI-powered fighter jets’ could bomb cities from the sky under new US plans03/09/2023
The US Air Force is spending a fortune on developing the 'Skyborg' programme—an AI-powered fighter jet which can take part in sky battles without a human pilot.
Tests for the jet are already underway, with a series of flights taking place in December which saw an AI engage in simulated dogfights in mid-air.
It's the first time a super-smart AI was used in a tactical aircraft, and takes the US Air Force one big step closer to developing a prototype AI fighter jet for use in the military.
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AI is already used to pilot autonomous drones, helicopters, and spy planes—but this is the first time that this sophisticated technology has been deployed in a supersonic fighter jet.
The aircraft that took part in the test flights is called the VISTA X-62A. It's packed full of advanced sensors and software that can be rapidly updated with the latest AI tools.
M. Christopher Cotting, research director at USAF Test Pilot School, said: "We're not trying to replace pilots, we're trying to augment them, give them an extra tool."
He compared the AI fighter jet programme to a soldier riding a horse into battle.
Cotting said: "The horse and the human had to work together. The horse can run the trail really well, so the rider doesn't have to worry about going from point A to point B. His brain can be freed up to think bigger thoughts."
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Cotting believes that this tech could give fighter pilots a greater advantage in battle with much less training, thanks to the AI taking over key tasks in the aircraft.
Bill Gray, the USAF Test Pilot School's chief test pilot, told WIRED that putting AI in fighter jets has been 'endlessly fascinating'.
Gray said: "Once you get through the process of connecting an AI to a supersonic fighter, the resulting maneuvering is endlessly fascinating.
"We have seen things that make sense, and completely surprising things that make no sense at all."
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