Military

South Korea establishes research center to develop autonomous weapons

South Korea establishes resear...
An early iteration of autonomous weaponry from the new US program dubbed "Wingman" that is developing automatic target detection systems
An early iteration of autonomous weaponry from the new US program dubbed "Wingman" that is developing automatic target detection systems
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Two vehicles from the new 'Wingman' US autonomous weapons program
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Two vehicles from the new 'Wingman' US autonomous weapons program
An early iteration of autonomous weaponry from the new US program dubbed "Wingman" that is developing automatic target detection systems
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An early iteration of autonomous weaponry from the new US program dubbed "Wingman" that is developing automatic target detection systems

As the United Nations continues to drag its heels on developing a clear international treaty relating to lethal autonomous weapons, South Korea has just announced a major investment in artificial intelligence and military systems with the goal of applying AI to various defense projects.

Hanwha Systems, South Korea's leading defense company, is joining forces with government-run research university KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) to launch a new facility dedicated to developing AI-based military innovations. The facility, opened on February 20, is called the Research Center for the Convergence of National Defense and Artificial Intelligence.

Four areas of research have initially been announced, covering, "AI-based command and decision systems, composite navigation algorithms for mega-scale unmanned undersea vehicles, AI-based smart aircraft training systems, and AI-based smart object tracking and recognition technology."

The announcement comes at a time of increasing global concern over the development of autonomous military weapons. Last year, a big push from scientists and researchers called for an international treaty banning the development of autonomous weapons, yet movement from the Uniter Nations has been glacial.

Two vehicles from the new 'Wingman' US autonomous weapons program
Two vehicles from the new 'Wingman' US autonomous weapons program

The UN initially started discussions for developing a set of rules as part of its Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) held in November last year, but serious doubts were quickly raised after Russia outright refused to support what it dubbed "a preventative ban on prospective types of weapons." This also coincided with a revelation last year that the nation is actively pursuing the development of autonomous weapons with arms manufacturer Kalashnikov.

Russia isn't the only major power that is seriously working on AI military systems. The United States recently revealed the first step in a new autonomous combat program nicknamed, "Wingman". The official stance from the US regarding AI weapons is that a soldier will be kept in the loop, with lethal force never deployed without human approval.

South Korea allegedly already has autonomous-capable sentry robots patrolling its border with North Korea, but reports suggest they cannot fire without human approval. This latest announcement is not an unprecedented move, but it does add yet another major military power to the list of those seriously developing AI weapons, making any potential UN move on the issue increasingly futile.

Source: KAIST

4 comments
GoodLife03
That is why I got into the AI field - to prevent idiotic AI from hunting us all down. The cure for a bad AI is a good AI!
CatWoman
Without unified international governmental agreement on the use of AI for military purposes, the human species is doomed ... that is, if the current lack of unified international governmental agreement on stopping climate change doesn't take down the species first. An IMMEDIATE change from government patriarchy to government matriarchy may be the only answer. Regarding technology in general: Just because we can, doesn't mean we should.
bwana4swahili
There will come a day when all good soldiers will retire and AI will continue human's desire to annihilate themselves. Sad that we waste a good portion of our resources, time and money on weapons of destruction!!
PaleDale
The human race is doomed already, this will just speed things up!