What do Disney, Google, and weapons-builder Lockheed Martin have in common?
This month, PeaceQuest Cape Breton’s Sean Howard turns to a recently-concluded study into the weaponization of artificial intelligence (AI).
The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI) submitted its final report to President Biden on March 1. The commission was established by Congress as part of the $716 billion 2019 National Defense Authorization Act.
“We envision hundreds of billions in federal spending in the coming years,” they sternly caution: “This is not a time for abstract criticism of industrial policy or fears of deficit spending to stand in the way of progress.”
Nor, the Commission stresses, is it time for regulation, or God forbid disarmament, to frustrate such high hopes, says Howard.
No, a “new warfighting paradigm is emerging” – destined to “pit algorithms against algorithms” – “in which advantage will be determined by the amount and quality of a military’s data, the algorithms it develops, the AI-networks it connects, the AI-enabled weapons it fields, and the AI-enabled operating concepts it enables to create new ways of war”.
It’s “algorithms against algorithms” in the new warfighting paradigm
Members of the commission are largely from the elite ranks of US tech giants with much to gain (killings to make) from such a brave new world of war, Howard discovered.
The Commission was chaired by Eric Schmidt, Google’s chief executive from 2001-2011, now president of Schmidt Futures (‘We Assemble People’); the vice chair was Robert Work, deputy secretary of defense under President Trump, and now president of TeamWork, a consultancy specializing in “military-technical competitions,” “revolutions in war,” and “the future of war.”
A mere 11 of the other 13 commissioners have multiple, interwoven ties to a somewhat incestuous family of mega-corporations including Oracle, The Walt Disney Corporation, In-Q-Tel, Intel, Hewlett-Packard, Nortel Networks, Microsoft, Amazon, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Bell, IBM and (again) Google.