Scientists fear turning over launch systems for nuclear missiles to artificial intelligence will lead to real-life “Terminator” event, wiping out all humans

Friday, December 27, 2019
By Paul Martin

by: JD Heyes
Friday, December 27, 2019

One of the most popular movie franchises of our time is the “Terminator” series, launched back in the early 1980s and featuring six-time Mr. America bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger as a futuristic humanoid killing machine

As noted by Great Power War, the backstory to the film is that the creation of the nearly-invincible cyborg Terminators stemmed from a “SkyNet” computer system that controlled U.S. nuclear weapons and “got smart,” eventually seeing all humans as its enemy.

So, in one fell swoop, the system launched its missiles at pre-programmed targets, which, of course, invited a second-strike counter-launch and created a nuclear holocaust that nearly destroyed all of humankind.

While the Terminator series never really identified the ‘smart’ SkyNet computer system as having artificial intelligence, some years later after AI became more of a thing it was understood that’s the kind of system the fictional SkyNet operated.

The “machine-learning” aspect of AI is how SkyNet “got smart” one day and launched the nuclear payloads it controlled.

But the Terminator series are just movies, right? Nothing like that could ever really happen…right?

In fact, as the Jerusalem Post notes, it nearly did happen — back in 1983 (one year before the original “Terminator” hit movie theaters):

An example that the article gives of human judgment’s importance was a 1983 incident when a Soviet officer named Stanislav Petrov disregarded automated audible and visual warnings that US nuclear missiles were inbound.

The systems were wrong and had Petrov trusted technology over his own instincts, the world might have gone to nuclear war over a technological malfunction.

According to a group of scientists, as AI technology advances in leaps and bounds, it’s possible that someday great powers like the U.S., Russia and China could turn over their launch capabilities to an AI-powered “machine learning” system that could accidentally start a nuclear war by identifying a false “threat.”

Some advantages, but more disadvantages

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