An AI combat jet pilot system known as Alpha, has shown that, in simulations, at least, it can repeatedly beat not only other computer controlled simulated fighter jets, but also ones piloted by humans…

alpha

I wont lie. I am seriously minded to say something about Skynet here, but I wont because every other story on this news has some sort of reference to it, so I wont, because I’m better than that.

But, this is the news that Alpha, a pilot A.I. designed and developed by a doctoral graduate at the University of Cincinnati successfully managed to defeat retired United States Air Force Colonel Gene “Geno” Lee over multiple simulated engagements, despite Geno’s decades of experience and former role as a Battle Manager and expert tactics instructor.

Alpha uses a specific form of Artificial Intelligence that utilises the concept of “fuzzy logic,’ which is essentially a decision making system that approaches complex decision required problem solving in much the same way that humans do.

The system which currently runs on a computer with components that cost around $500, breaks the overall larger challenges it faces down into smaller tasks, prioritising the most relevant variables such evasion manoeuvres and tactical positioning.

The main difference between Alpha and a retired USAF combat pilot, in a simulated combat environment is the fact that Alpha can calculate and decide the best course of action over 250 times faster than its human opponent.

Alpha’s initial tests against other AI systems proved that the new AI fighter easily dispatched anything its creators threw at it, so they took it to the next level and put it up against a human. In several hour long engagements, Alpha proved to be victorious in every encounter. Colonel Lee later described Alpha as the “most aggressive, responsive, dynamic and credible AI I’ve seen to date.”

Of course, it will be several years before anyone sees something like Alpha outfitted on real world fighter aircraft as not only is Alpha a prototype proof-of-concept construct, fighting in the “blue” for real carries with it an entirely new set of problems and variants, not the least of which is the ability to differentiate between friend, foe, and civilian targets.

So at least we don’t have to worry about Skynet happening for at least a decade or so.  Damn, look at that, I did mention Skynet. I couldn’t help myself.