Pentagon To Purchase AI Weaponry
NEWS 10/06/2039 6:33 PM ET
Pentagon To Purchase AI Weaponry
by George Benkefein

CC0 1.0 Untitled by DariuszSankowski | Writer image: CC0 1.0 Untitled by Kadres | Images were cropped. Images used for illustration purposes only.
The human soldier may soon be a thing of the past.
The U.S. Government announced today that it is purchasing "cognitive" weapons which will run IBM's new Phariax AI software.

Speaking from the White House, Pentagon spokesman Lt. Colonel Hill Strickland said that the Defense Department had awarded an initial contract for Architecture Evolution and Deployment (Testing) to Vetiron BlackTech Inc.

The $750 million investment is for Vetiron's proposed BlackIron Automated Ground Combatant (AGC). BlackIron has been a feature of the Defense rumor mill since shortly after IBM released Pharius, its first true AI software, in 2031.

Since that time, Vetiron has been producing commercial models running Pharius and its successor, last year's Phariax. Vetiron BlackTech is Vetiron's military division.

The Pentagon is expected to take delivery of up to 2,500 units within five years. The total outlay is estimated to be $5 billion.

Col. Strickland described the BlackIron AGC as a, "Six foot tall, bipedal infantryman capable of carrying 6,000 rounds of new purposely designed 3.9mm ammunition, able to outrun a velociraptor and survive a direct mortar hit."

The Pentagon's tactical intention for the new AI soldiers remains a closely held secret but sources say that when the AGC is ready to be deployed it will at first primarily be used for flank protection. Because Pharius and Phariax commercial models are known to learn by repetition, it is thought that after all phases of testing are complete, AGC will best learn its role in theater on the edge of a battlefield as opposed to the center where fighting is usually the heaviest.

The AGC will be accompanied by human soldiers or Marines and remotely monitored by trained operators.

It is believed that the AGC will be equipped with a military version of IBM's Contemplate, Phariax's interpretive corollary software, which enables it to understand and communicate with humans.

Col. Strickland stated that BlackIron will be equipped with a bespoke version of IBM's "Community Co-operative Development" framework, which shares learning from some corollaries with IBM, which in turn distributes the learning to other users.

The AGC's battlefield learning will not be shared with Vetiron or IBM, said Col. Strickland. If other nations are permitted access to the technology learning will be similarly quarantined.

Interest in cognitive weapons has long been a feature of Defense Department strategic thinking. However, recent rumors of Chinese battlefield AI have spurred a closer engagement with industry.

"It's true to say that recent reported Chinese gains in automated cognition have made us want to keep pace," said Col. Strickland.

Others speculate that the U.S. is interested in re-entering Nigeria and deploying the AGC in order to minimize ground casualties in dealing with a resurgent Boko Haram.

"This is clearly a new phase in Pentagon strategy: the mass deployment of robotics in order to win unnecessary wars," said Senator Bob Spenczec (D-NY) in a statement today. "I remain extremely skeptical in the use of robots which can think about killing people."

The investment comes on the heels of last year's leaked memo, "Fighting And Winning 22nd Century Wars", a Defense Department manifesto advocating the broadscale use of robotics to enhance a philosophy of asymmetric warfare.

Vetiron has not yet released a statement but it is expected that Vetiron shares will gain 10-12% by close of business tomorrow.

The funding for the AGC will form part of the Defense Department's budget for fiscal year 2041.
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