This could end rather swell, don’t you think? Let’s have AI decide when to launch nukes. A pair of researchers with the US Air Force want to give control of America’s missiles to an artificial intelligence.
The idea being, essentially, that if the United States is attacked with a nuclear bomb, artificial intelligence would automatically fire back.
Even if everyone is dead.
Air Force Institute of Technology associate dean Curtis McGiffin and Louisiana Tech Research Institute researcher Adam Lowther are the two brains behind this idea. Both are affiliated with the Air Force and have cowritten this article with the ominous title of “America Needs a ‘Dead Hand’”.
The two argue that that the United States needs to develop an automated strategic response system based on artificial intelligence.
Yes, this sounds a lot like the Doomsday Machine from the 1964 satire film Dr. Strangelove.
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.
And the two even admit as such.
The “Dead Hand” referenced in the title refers to the semiautomated failsafe system that Soviet Union had in place that would have launched nuclear weapons if certain conditions were met — even if no one existed in Russia to make the nukes fly.
Conditions here being extreme scenarios like the death of the Union’s leader.
This time around, though, the AI powered system that Lowther and McGiffin suggest would not even wait for a first strike against the United States to occur.
It would actually know what to do well ahead of time.
Of course, not everyone is all in with ideas like this that cross into the land of bad science fiction. In fact, this 2018 report from the RAND Corporation suggested that AI might, in fact, make the world less safe from nuclear war.
In cases like these, artificial intelligence may not actually solve problems.
It may lead to new ones.