A couple of weeks ago we wrote about how a petition to discuss the banning of Artificial Intelligence ( AI ) weapons being created is putting pressure on the UN. Whilst the petition does have some solid grounds for concern on both an ethical and moral level around the advancement of military technology, most people thought it edged a bit too close to Hollywood style rise of the robots scaremongering.
Whilst the question of who takes responsibility for an autonomous drone that uses logic and algorithms to launch a missile attack without any direct orders to do so is a major debate that needs to happen, those against the ban have argued that rather than meander down a rabbit hole that may or may not exist we should, in fact, be looking at the benefits military technology brings to society as a whole.
An extremely large amount of tech that we rely on today came about from military applications. GPS is a fine example of technology that began as military and as now become a mainstay of daily life. You probably don’t even realise how much you use GPS technology. Everything from sat, nav, to games such as Pokemon Go, use GPS. Even social media such as Facebook uses GPS to help you check in to places/activities.
Earlier this week Andy Wright – Director of Strategic Technology at BAE Systems spoke to T3 about just how AI and AR (augmented reality) is being used in the military today and the technology we can expect to see filter through in the coming years.
Andy speaks at some length about the use of AR in fighter pilot helmets such as the Striker II Helmet that is used by typhoon fighter pilots and also gives some background to the recent UK Ministry of Defence exercise Unmanned Warrior that saw an integration of autonomous drones and boats being used alongside marines
You can read the full interview here but one of the most striking points were the advances in wearable technology. Especially the combat vest known as Broadsword. “Which is a fabric that allows you to pass information, data and power through it. Now if you were to do that at the moment you’d embed cables into the fabric, and as you actually wear the fabric the cables would break and it also would not be particularly robust. With Broadsword we use a novel e-textile material that allows us to weave the means of transmitting those things in the actual fabric material itself, removing the cables.”
With arguably failed experiments like google glass not taking on in the mainstream due to privacy issues I honestly believe that Broadsword could be the next big military technology to hit “civvy street” There is a definite market for wearable techs such as Fitbit and smartwatches, but imagine if you could leave that power bank to emergency charge your phone at home because when your battery is low you simply plug your phone into your T-shirt!
It is undeniable that the advancement of military technology undoubtedly filters down to our everyday usage so where do we find the balance? will the invention of autonomous AI weaponry enable us to have a personal digital assistant that makes Siri look basic? Or will the latest fashions come with power accessories, Sensor to detect our environment and then heat or cool us as required?
The future is limitless but does the means justify the end? Where do you stand on this debate? Are you in favour of advanced technology filtered through military research or do you think AI weaponry is a pandora’s box that once opened can never be closed? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below