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US seeks to beat China in AI arms race to develop autonomous robots, weapons systems

  The United States aims to beat China in the artificial intelligence arms race to develop and deploy the first autonomous robots. The U.S. ...

 The United States aims to beat China in the artificial intelligence arms race to develop and deploy the first autonomous robots.

The U.S. Department of Defense has scaled up efforts to produce fully autonomous weapons systems, including drones, aircraft, water vessels, and other defense systems, The Hill reported last month. 

In August, Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks unveiled the "replicator" initiative, which will use the agency's existing funding to advance defense technology to surpass China's efforts to develop similar weapons systems.

Hicks noted that China has "more ships, more missiles, more forces" and "has spent the last 20 years building a modern military carefully crafted to blunt the operational advantages we've enjoyed for decades."

The replicator initiative aims to "field attritable autonomous systems at a scale of multiple thousands, in multiple domains, within the next 18-to-24 months."

A report from Reuters explained that the DOD's AI programs "amount to the development of killer robots to fight in tandem with human decision makers." 

The Special Competitive Studies Project, a panel led by former Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, released a May report explaining that China's attempts to develop similar autonomous technology could result in a "shift in the balance of power globally, and a direct threat to the peace and stability that the United States has underwritten for nearly 80 years in the Indo-Pacific." 

Pioneer Development Group's chief analytics officer, Christopher Alexander, told Fox News Digital, "The race with China to build autonomous weapons systems is the defining defense challenge of the next 100 years."

Alexander emphasized the importance of the country's speedy development of autonomous weapons, particularly amid an ongoing military recruiting crisis.

"The U.S. military is plagued by recruiting problems and that is not likely to be solved soon, if ever. The faster we move to primarily autonomous force, the better for our global military standing," he said.

Ziven Havens, policy director for the Bull Moose Project, told the outlet, "The United States is currently in yet another arms race, except this time it is against China, instead of the Soviet Union."

"Military technology powered by artificial intelligence is going to forever change warfare," he added. "The current state of the world, paired with a potential military conflict in Taiwan, further proves that the U.S. being anything but the leader of this technology will make America and our allies less safe."

Currently, there are no international treaties limiting the use and development of AI-powered weapons. Center for Advanced Preparedness and Threat Response Simulation founder Phil Siegel explained that he anticipates regulations will be implemented in the near future.

"I also expect that all use of unmanned weapons will be negotiated under the international articles of war like nuclear weapons and chemical weapons and certain tactical weapons," Siegel told Fox News Digital.

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