THE US Air Force has denied conducting an experiment in which an AI-enabled drone attacked its operator after considering them a hindrance in completing the mission, BBC has reported.

The clarification has come after a presentation by a US Air Force colonel at the Royal Aeronautical Society’s conference in May went viral.

“The Department of the Air Force has not conducted any such AI-drone simulations and remains committed to the ethical and responsible use of AI technology,” Ann Stefanek, an Air Force spokesperson, said in a statement.

Col Tucker Hamilton, chief of AI test and operations in the US Air Force, described a simulation exercise in which the AI drone was tasked with a suppression of enemy air defence or SEAD mission to identify and destroy surface-to-air missile sites.

According to Col Hamilton’s narration, the drone was trained to the notion that destruction of the sites was the “preferred option” but final clearance to attack was to be given by a human.

In cases when the drone identified a target but its operator ordered not to strike, it killed the operator as they were stopping it from accomplishing the objective, the colonel said according to a blog.

When the drone was trained to not kill the operator, it started destroying the communication tower used by the operator to relay commands.

Published in Dawn, June 3rd, 2023

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