US Military is Building Skynet

skynet gets online

If you’re not familiar with the notion from the Terminator movie, Skynet is a generic term for artificial intelligence achieving self consciousness/self awareness, spreading through millions of computers and networks all around the world and finally turning on its makers, which are us, humans. And now the US military is basically building something very similar to Skynet, in a quest for global dominance or something along these lines. Just to tell you a quick factoid, the US already achieved global military dominance, as its defense budget dwarfs the rest of the world, i.e. the US alone spends roughly 40% of world military spending and has military bases in over 100 countries, but let that go.

us military spending

However, that’s not enough for the military industrial complex, as the leaders of the Navy, Air Force, Marines and Army are now looking to connect every military asset on the “global battlefield”, digitally of course, meaning that everything, ranging from an assault rifle to an aircraft carrier will be connected in a sort of “internet of military-things”, sharing data and being aware of the state/presence of every other object in the military global network, making for something like a digital nervous system of sorts controlling the world’s most deadliest paraphernalia.

Even if the US National Military Strategy is classified, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein was quoted as saying recently how he sees the future of the Air Force :

Every Tesla car is connected to every other Tesla car. If a Tesla is headed down the road and hits a pothole, every Tesla that’s behind it that’s self-driving, it will avoid the pothole, immediately. If you’re driving the car, it automatically adjusts your shocks in case you hit it, too.”

“What would the world look like if we connected what we have in that way? If we looked at the world through a lens of a network as opposed to individual platforms, electronic jamming shared immediately, avoided automatically? Every three minutes, a mobility aircraft takes off somewhere on the planet. Platforms are nodes in a network,”

The whole purpose of the internet-of-military-things would be to create a faster, better coordinated and more lethal military force, which will be undefeatable, or at least that’s the theory. Hence, the Air Force is currently investing massively in data sharing technology, and also introducing new connected devices, like ATAK (“Android Tactical Assault kit”).

What we determined was that there were so many devices on the battlefield that had information that we weren’t collecting. Rather than build a system to pull that in, we actually went to a commercial entity and they created an algorithm. It’s user-defined and it pulls in whatever data you need and puts it on Google Maps,”

said Gen. David Goldfein at a September Air Force Association event in Maryland. The ATAK gizmo was used by the Air Force during hurricane relief earlier in September, for sending search and rescue teams to people asking for help on Facebook and Twitter. Obviously, the military digital network would extend to other vehicles/weapons in the battle-space, i.e. it will not stop at just Air Force:

“Our scope would be in helping the Air Force to think about operations they would be conducting that would incorporate joint sensors and platforms, like destroyers, I think that has to be part of it. And that is within the charter of the study,”

The US Army is also investing heavily into high tech gear, aimed at connecting everything on the battlefields of the future, with the Marines already experimenting with high-tech warfare. Read along the lines of digitally connected tanks with self healing armor and epic stuff like that.

I sure hope that the US Marine on the ground can occasionally take a break from screen-time, long enough to pop up out of his hole, shoot at an enemy soldier, before he pops back down again to download the latest bug fix. “Connect everything to everything.”  says the Navy. What could go wrong with that?!