In a massive step forward into a new world of future warfare, Israel has become the first nation to use AI (artificial intelligence) drones in battle against Hamas terrorists. With no human input after mission orders have been set, a drone swarm team has been utilized to seek out targets. The drones link together and use artificial intelligence to map out geography and locate targets, making mission decisions on their own. The drone swarm continues the mission until completion, even if some of the drones are destroyed in the process. A human operator sends out mission details as the machines gather information data to move forward from satellites, air vehicles, ground troops and other recon drones. 

Unit 8200 of the Israeli Defense Force Intelligence Corps has developed and implemented the new technology. Algorithms by the IDF use signal data, geographical information and human intelligence together to build a framework of how to execute the desired mission. Artificial Intelligence and supercomputers locate targets and plan strikes to remove any strategic forces that could give opposing forces any advantage, while machine learning technology improves the capabilities of the system itself through action.

Since May of this year, battle between Israel and Hamas has continued off and on after initial protests in Palestine led to attacks from Hamas terrorists and defensive retaliation from Israeli forces. During the attacks, it has been reported that an estimated 4,300 rockets that have been fired from Gaza have been fired at towns, cities, civilians and military forces within Israel. In defense, the new tactic of Israel utilizing AI drones has been deployed for defense of the ally nation. 

Reports from late 2019 by New Scientist said that Turkey had planned on using the same sort of technology in Syria. However, those reports remained inconclusive. It has not been determined if the technology was actually implemented in battles at the time.  

In recent years, drones have been used in warfare by countries around the world. The difference here is that before this, drones strikes have been driven and directed by human input guiding the vehicles. Arthur Holland of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research said about the recent revelation that, “if confirmed, they are certainly a notch up in the incremental growth of autonomy and machine to machine collaboration in warfare”.

Israel isn’t the only country getting involved in the new technological advances. The United States, Britain, Russia and China have all been developing artificial intelligence technologies designed for autonomous warfare. Concerns around the world here are that there is a vast potential for a new arms race. But that idea has been a reality in motion since the dawn of the potential for the technology was created. Whether you like it or not, that is the truth of the matter. This is only the beginning of what the future of modern warfare is going to look like. And whoever has the best technology will be the most secure. The idea of peace through strength comes to mind here. And the United States and its allies should be investing heavily on creating the best possible technology to protect our freedoms and to help stand for our way of life.  

In a recent interview, retired U.S. Navy officer and author Jocko Willink said while talking to artificial intelligence podcaster Lex Fridman that he approved of the new technology despite some human concern around the world. Jocko said, “… if they could make a machine that could do more surgical attacks on enemy individuals, would I be for it? Yes, I would be for it”. 

If you are interested in hearing the full interview, check out the new podcast. It is one of the best talks on autonomous war technology, leadership and human nature of recent times.