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A new AI developed for the US Military keeps shooting down human pilots in combat simulations.
The program, dubbed ALPHA, was originally intended to be a research tool. But when retired Air Force Colonel Gene Lee tried to combat the AI, he was not able to score a single kill against it, according to The Verge.
Lee, a former air combat instructor for the Air Force, has been flying against AI opponents since the early 1980s, according to a press release.
“Until now, an AI opponent simply could not keep up with anything like the real pressure and pace of combat-like scenarios,” Lee said in the press release.
During the simulated battles, both Lee and the AI had access to the same data. What’s more, even when researchers severely handicapped the AI’s simulated aircraft in terms of speed and maneuverability, it was still able to beat human opponents, The Verge wrote.
Lee calls his opponent “the most aggressive, responsive, dynamic and credible AI I’ve seen to date.”
Fortunately, the AI isn’t designed to replace human fighter pilots. The researchers at the University of Cincinnati — where the AI is being tested — was originally conceived as sort of a digital assistant for pilots, helping them sort through and make sense of the large amount of data that modern fighter jets operate with, according to Wired Magazine.
The AI could also pilot unmanned aircraft in combat situations, allowing human pilots to have autonomous wingmen.
The team at the University of Cincinnati is also testing whether the AI could be useful in other applications — such as medical research, and even self-driving cars — researchers told Wired.