In recent years, China has looked to private start-ups to share any new technologies developed with the military in efforts to improve defences by way of AI. Now, the Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT) has selected 31 students to trial an experimental programme for the development of intelligent weapons systems.
The article below outlines the scope of the programme, and the reasoning behind this bold step. The foreign ministry acknowledges the potential concequences of developing autonomous weapons but reaffirms that China is nonetheless promoting the exploration of 'preventive measures.'
This raises the question; if we are not yet comfortable and confident in the ability of a self-driving car, how can we be comfortable and confident in the ability of a semi-autonomous weapon?
There is understandably a concern to the wider AI community, as it is probable that any link between AI and the military would place restraints and scrutiny on the tech environment - which is otherwise creative, open and free from restrictions.
“This is the first university program in the world designed to aggressively and strategically encourage the next generation to think, design and deploy AI for military research and use,”