Straight out of the Terminator movies, the U.S. Army is developing a self-aware network of robots used to manage communications and movement on the battlefield.
The machines are given wireless networking capabilities and network-wide learning algorithms to allow the robots to make decisions. It is hoped the results will be reduced human decision responsibility, a resilient data network with instant data transfer, and reduced energy consumption.
“It’s important that we apply learning and reasoning because currently, there’s no ‘intelligence’ in the network” says Sharon Mackey, chief of the Network Design and Cognitive Networking Sciences branch. Mitel Patel, technical lead for the branch, says “a soldier has to keep track of a lot of things to maintain the network such as network constraints, requirements and objectives. With cognitive algorithms, the network is more intelligent and self aware thus reducing resource management in the network.”
Risk of Robot Takeover?
Some see this as the first step of a robot revolution. According to many science fiction movies and novels, allowing networks of machines to become self-aware and make their own decisions leads to human annihilation.
There are many real-life organizations working to prevent this awful scenario by making rules for robots and humans to follow. For instance, South Korea’s Robot Ethics Charter creates policy aimed at preventing robot abuse by their human handlers, and vice-versa.