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Should We Ban ‘Killer Robots’? Can We?

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


The Pentagon insists it doesn’t want them. But could a global ban really rein in Russia or China?

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Dial-A-Blast For Smart Bombs: AFRL Weapons Adjust Yield To Target

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


via Wikimedia Commons

AFA: The Air Force is developing smart bombs that detonate differently depending on the target. These “Dialable Effects Munitions” could turn up the blast to devastate an enemy camp or turn it down to kill a single terrorist without hurting nearby civilians. In the extreme case, said Col. Garry Haase, the director of munitions at… Keep reading →

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Mattis Supports Saudi War in Yemen, Rejects Privatizing Afghan Fight

Posted by Paul McLeary on


“The training we have given them we know has paid off,” Mattis said of the Saudis. “We have had pilots in the air who recognize the danger of a specific mission and declined to drop even when they get the authority. We have seen staff procedures that put no-fire areas around areas where there’s hospitals or schools.”

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AI for Good in War; Beyond Google’s ‘Don’t Be Evil:’

Posted by Larry Lewis on


Sorry, real robots won't be this cute and friendly.

      In recent weeks, two events demonstrated the promise of and concern over the growing use of artificial intelligence (AI). At the #AI4Good Summit in Geneva, attendees reviewed the many ways AI can help humanity in medicine, education, economic and law enforcement applications, to name a few. Meanwhile, Google withdrew from a Pentagon project called… Keep reading →

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Trump’s Generals, Part 3: Mike Flynn vs. Al-Qaeda

Posted by James Kitfield on


Institute Of Politics photo

Who are Trump’s generals? Earlier this week, James Kitfield showed us the common crucible that shaped as a group and then profiled James Mattis, the prospective Secretary of Defense. Today, Kitfield tackles Trump’s most controversial general, intelligence officer turned political firebrand Michael Flynn. “Know your enemy and know yourself, and you will not be defeated in… Keep reading →

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Should US Unleash War Robots? Frank Kendall Vs. Bob Work, Army

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


Army photo

WILLIAMSBURG, Va.: The Pentagon’s top weapons buyer, Frank Kendall, warned today that the US might hobble itself in future warfare by insisting on human control of thinking weapons if our adversaries just let their robots pull the trigger. Kendall even worries that Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work is being too optimistic when Work says humans and machines working together will beat… Keep reading →

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Halfway To Transparency On Drone Strikes

Posted by Rachel Stohl on


As Pentagon enthusiasm grows for robotic weapons, and drones proliferate to militaries and terrorists around the world, it’s worth remembering some basic questions of ethics, law, and strategy remain unsettled. For insight, we turn to Rachel Stohl, the director of the Conventional Defense program at the Stimson Center and the primary author of the recently… Keep reading →

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Thornberry Fears Bureaucracy Hamstrings Cyber Vs. Daesh

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


WASHINGTON: Why does the internet still work in Raqqa? That simple question about the Syrian capital of Daesh, the self-proclaimed Islamic State, posed today by retired fighter pilot Rep. Martha McSally, goes to the heart of how the military will use — or refrain from using — cyber weapons. It goes to deep suspicions that… Keep reading →

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Retired Lt. Gen. Deptula: Drones Best Weapons We’ve Got For Accuracy, Control, Oversight; Critics Don’t Get It

Posted by David Deptula on


Dave Deptula, the first general charged with overseeing drones and the Air Force general in command of the Air Operations Center when the first Predator fired a Hellfire missile, steps right into the debate about whether death by drone is moral, legal or qualitatively different from other weapons that strike from afar. He says drone… Keep reading →

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