Unmanned Fighter Plane, More Scary Than Terminator, This is WORSE, More Dangerous

Ever considered the threat of an Unmanned Fighter Plane?

Hey, give this some thought, what is the worst possible weapon you can think of that someone could develop for the U.S. military?

I’m not certain after the nuclear weapons were invented but listen to this and see if you think this is a good idea – I bet if you watched Terminator then you will have a different opinion than those who haven’t. If you watched Dr. Strangelove you would now pack to move to the mountains and dig in.

My idea is:

  • A plane as big as a fighter plane and capable of carrying guns and missiles like any fighter.
  • Now take out the pilot seat and pilot controls so it is run entirely by AI. (Remember the turn, climb, and dive limits are due to human frailty.)
  • Have it capable of refueling without human intervention so it can fly anywhere and stay airborne for days.
  • Now make it capable of landing on an aircraft carrier, refueling, weaponing, and taking off again.

Unmanned Fighter Plane

Asimov’s laws (see below) if they were applied (they certainly won’t be) would be no problem since the plane knows it has no human aboard so it can be told other planes are also unmanned.

Scary enough?

Well, if not, remove any tail surfaces and make it a stealth plane.

An invisible, unmanned, AI-controlled fighter plane.
Can you honestly think of any worse idea?

If I proposed making this wouldn’t you think I was not just crazy but dangerously crazy?

Unmanned Fighter Plane X-47B

Well, this nightmare has a name given by Northrop Grumman which has been designing such an unmanned fighter plane since 2007.

This aircraft is designated the X-47B and a decade ago passed the final test of landing on a carrier.

Small drones controlled from the ground someplace land on ships all the time but this was a full-sized fighter landing under its own control.

X-47B from Wikipedia

unmanned fighter plane x-47b
x 47b in the atlantic test range. US Navy, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

This is what the company says: “The X-47B UCAS is designed to help the Navy explore the future of unmanned carrier aviation. The successful flight test program is setting the stage for the development of a more permanent, carrier-based fleet of unmanned aircraft.”


Unmanned, Unarmed Fighter Plane?

Can anyone think there either is already a place to install guns or at least completed designs for the necessary adaptation?

Here is a video of Navy 502 refueling.

The plane even won the top U.S. aviation award.

The Navy’s X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration (UCAS-D) team received the 2013 Robert J. Collier Trophy at the U.S. National Aeronautic Association awards ceremony April 9 in Arlington, Va.

You probably never heard of this award, I don’t think I ever did but other winners included Orville Wright, Chuck Yeager, and Apollo 11 and you probably heard of those.

Giving that award should tell you what the Navy thinks of this terror weapon.

The plane has “‘completed’ eight catapult launches from an aircraft carrier; 30 touch-and-goes; and seven arrested landings aboard USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) and USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71)” https://www.doncio.navy.mil/CHIPS/ArticleDetails.aspx?ID=5073

This plane has been around for years and completed most testing a decade ago but has seen little publicity until very recently.

Unmanned Fighter Planes Saves Human Lives

A wonderful way to fight a war you might be thinking, with no risk to any human pilot and probably a much shorter training time since it just takes an update to the software already running the plane. Remember that instead of training fifty pilots for two years you have a computer develop the training and put it on fifty chips or upload the program to fifty unmanned fighters.

Even better the program already exists because it is used to train the pilots in the simulator.

Of course not carrying a human pilot eliminates the human factors limiting the G forces which the plane experiences during sharp turns. (1G is, of course the force we all experience standing on Earth, it is why your mass is 172lgs. on a bathroom scale.)

9 G’s can be fatal if experienced longer than a few seconds but even 6 G’s for more than a few seconds can cause a pilot to black or can be fatal out even though they wear special G suits. It may surprise you to learn most pilots experience 1 to 1.5 G’s pushing him sideways.

But what happens if the AI decides either that war is hell and should not occur, or worse yet, that computers are so much smarter that as soon as they can completely automate design and installation of computer chips they should eliminate the messy and now useless biologicals.

Unmanned Fighter Plane vs Drones

So far we have seen drones doing almost anything a small fighter bomber can do so what is the big deal?

Drones are controlled by humans, expert game players are in demand for flying drones but consider the eventual stress of sitting at a computer with your controller the same as if killing whores or other fighters in Mortal Combat.

But they are killing real human beings, sometimes innocent bystanders or complete families. How long could you continue doing that from a comfortable air conditioned chair with a coke. Soldiers out in the field killing people who are shooting at them experience life changing psychological damage, you can see some of them in homeless camps.

How much worse will it be when you aren’t even at any personal risk?

But if the plane is not a drone controlled by a human, it is completely AI controlled and not programmed to feel empathy.

That is the point of a controlled AI weapon, it eliminates most of the stress imposed on the pilot AND the stress on officers who have to send men and now sometimes women soldiers out to kill and sometimes die.

All that is perhaps wonderful, although it might make war easier, but what if the AI starts making its own decisions.

The programs fed into these machines are now being designed by other AI systems which are often connected to other massive computer systems. Who can know what is in all those millions of lines of code? (I was a FORTRAN and COBOL programmer but wrote my first computer program on an IBM 1401 in 1963, it was in machine language – zeros and ones – it added two numbers and it ran. I no longer program because K and R C is no longer used and AI software can create programs a thousand times faster than any human programmer.)

Anthropocene to Antikytheragenic?

What do we call the possible new world overlords planet?

It is almost officially the Anthropocene epoch now but the geologists are debating whether this is a new epoch where humans control the environment for good or bad, but by the time they decide to make it official we may have world actually controlled by artificial intelligence.

Anthropogenic or anthropocentrism mean human centered or human controlled.

Would this new computer controlled world be called Antikytheragenic?

(Note, the antikythera is an ancient computer which scientists and engineers have been trying to understand for decades since it was found in a Greek shipwreck. The latest idea is that it might have been a one-off computer designed by Archimedes of Syracuse or by Posidonius at Rhodes. I never heard of Posidonius but he was apparently considered the most learned person of his time, a mathematician, astronomer, and politician.

antikythera mechanism. Lead Holder, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
antikythera mechanism. Lead Holder, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Asimov’s Laws from “Runaround,” 1942 when there were only three computers in the world and they weighed tons. They also had less computing power together than my smart watch.

  • “A robot must not harm a human or allow a human to come to harm through inaction.
  • A robot must obey human orders, unless they conflict with the first law.
  • A robot must protect its own existence, unless it conflicts with the first or second law. “

After the good doctor (I knew him somewhat though Mensa meetings in NYC) wrote those seemingly foolproof rules for future robots he wrote a dozen or more stories showing how to get around those three “laws so computer controlled robots could kill humans or let them die.” A mind reading robot was even carried on to some of the final Foundation stories.

Some recent Newsblaze stories about AI

Will “Artificial Intelligence” Replace Human Presidents In The Future?

Google’s NASA AI Drone Races Against Human Pilot