When Predator Drones Acquire Minds Of Their Own

A preview of the uprising of the machines, from the Washington Post‘s glimpse into a secretive U.S. military base in the Horn of Africa:

Camp Lemonnier is the centerpiece of an expanding constellation of half a dozen U.S. drone and surveillance bases in Africa, created to combat a new generation of terrorist groups across the continent.

As the pace of drone operations has intensified in Djibouti, Air Force mechanics have reported mysterious incidents in which the airborne robots went haywire.

In March 2011, a Predator parked at the camp started its engine without any human direction, even though the ignition had been turned off and the fuel lines closed. Technicians concluded that a software bug had infected the “brains” of the drone, but never pinpointed the problem.

“After that whole starting-itself incident, we were fairly wary of the aircraft and watched it pretty closely,” an unnamed Air Force squadron commander testified to an investigative board, according to a transcript. “Right now, I still think the software is not good.”

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  • Anarchy Pony

    “Camp Lemonnier is the centerpiece of an expanding constellation of half a dozen U.S. drone and surveillance bases in Africa, created to combat a new generation of terrorist groups establish military hegemony across the continent.”

  • I_abide

    I for one welcome our flying robotic overlords and seek either subjugation or a quick death.

  • Xeno

    Maybe when the robots take over THEY will be able to fix the economy !

  • alizardx

    Alarmist BS title. This is just another set of bugs expectable in complex software running on inadequately characterized hardware platforms. Do people talk “killer AIs” when Windows software crashes on medical hardware and a patient dies? I would expect a drone to carry about a PC’s worth of CPU power. (we can HOPE these drones aren’t running Winblows instead of a competently designed RTOS).

    IMHO, we’re at least 20 years from the hardware capability to fill A DATA CENTER with enough computational electronics to build an artificial intelligence close enough to human-level capability to understand why it should hate people. Shrinking physical size and power to the point where one can fly drones based on the largest commercial airliner airframes will take far longer, and remote control is not a great idea in this case.

    Google recently simulated a section of the human visual cortex. They used an entire data center with 16K CPU cores to do it with and promise a complete human visual cortex simulation in 5 years (2.5 x iterations of Moore’s Law).

    Anybody who’s in a hurry for human-level AIs needs to put big bucks into semiconductor fabrication processes in projects explicitly intended to break the Moore’s Law “barrier”. Not necessarily impossible, a solid state physicist I think well of says that Moore’s Law is more a matter of marketing than limits as to what’s possible in CPU devices.

  • Noah Way

    Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird, it’s a plane it’s a

  • IrishPotatoGun

    Well if they do develop a mind of their own they will be one step up from the previous military and police operator that just follow orders even when its leads to the deaths innocent human beings.

  • “Big” Richard Johnson

    More likely the operators were fucking around and got caught.

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