Former Top NATO Commander Warns of “Drone Swarm” Threat

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SUBSCRIBER+EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW — While the use of lethal drones is escalating in Ukraine, Russia, the Middle East and elsewhere, the global proliferation of the technology and advances in artificial intelligence have raised concerns about the threat posed by so-called autonomous weapons – drones that destroy targets with limited human intervention, relying on algorithms and onboard sensors.   

As human control or oversight is reduced, fundamental questions arise: Can these autonomous systems be trusted to make spur-of-the-moment judgments, differentiate between friend and foe, and minimize collateral damage? There is particular concern about so-called “drone swarms” – in which large numbers of cheap autonomous weapons could be deployed against adversaries to devastating effect.   

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