The former CEO of Google has issued a warning that artificial intelligence could revolutionise warfare in the same way that nuclear weapons once did.
Eric Schmidt, who was the boss of Google from 2001 to 2015 and the head of parent company Alphabet until 2020, said that the US government needs to radically up its game when it comes to AI.
Schmidt told WIRED: "Every once in a while, a new weapon, a new technology comes along that changes things. Einstein wrote a letter to Roosevelt in the 1930s saying that there is this new technology—nuclear weapons—that could change war, which it clearly did.
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"I would argue that [AI-powered] autonomy and decentralised, distributed systems are that powerful."
Schmidt believes the US needs to up its AI capabilities by working with big tech companies—or it will fail to face up to China's use of advanced AI.
Schmidt said: "We're facing a very significant challenge from a very, very focused competitor that knows what they're doing."
He believes that the main obstacle to the US military using AI effectively is that its bureaucracy is too slow, describing the military as "great human beings inside a bad system" as it can take months or even years for the Department of Defense to introduce new technologies.
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Schmidt thinks the US military should model itself on Ukraine, which quickly began using drones, 3D printing, and new battlefield systems in response to the Russian invasion last year.
Russia itself has begun deploying AI to the battlefield. Last month, the military superpower showed off its autonomous 'killer robot' tanks which can 'identify and eliminate' targets using AI.
The unmanned Marker robot can drive itself for miles and attack targets automatically for up to three days using a range of smart sensors and robotics.
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