U.S. Army AI task force could bring facial recognition to the field of battle

U.S. Army AI task force could bring facial recognition to the field of battle

Facial recognition could be deployed in combat situations in the future through a new research partnership involving the American military. The U.S. Army has launched its Artificial Intelligence Task Force at the National Robotics Engineering Center at Carnegie Mellon University to develop technologies for use on the battlefield of the future, as well as in rescue missions and civilian protection, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

“At the end of the day, I’d rather not fight a war,” said Mark Esper, secretary of the Army. “And so, if we can master AI … then I think it will just really position us better to make sure we protect the American people.”

Esper noted that many soldiers died in Iraq driving in convoys that could be driven with artificial intelligence in the future.

General John Murray, Commander of the Army Futures Command said he can imagine facial recognition being used in combat, the Post-Gazette reports. This could enable the military to distinguish between enemy combatants and civilians in situations in which they are not wearing uniforms.

CMU President Farnam Jahanian declined to say if the university has established an ethics committee to oversee its partnership with the military. He did note that faculty members are free to participate in only projects they choose.

“One of the important benefits of having this task force be based here is that it’s going to give us the ability to have discussions about AI and other emerging technologies and ethical applications of these technologies, both in a military context as well as a civilian context,” Jahanian says.

The announcement was made in front of politicians and researchers from dozens of universities, and the task force is expected to evolve into a national network including academic and industry experts.

A recent report showed that Americans tend to have more faith in the military and academia to responsibly develop AI technologies than private industry. The army is also looking to the industry to provide biometric technology for special operations forces.

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