Opinion | The U.S. Military: Like the French at Agincourt? – By Bret Stephens – The New York Times

Bret Stephens

By Bret Stephens

Opinion Columnist

United States Navy carrier strike groups on Wednesday in the Mediterranean Sea.CreditU.S. Navy/U.S. Navy, via Getty Images

“Early on a Sunday morning in 1932, a fleet of some 150 fighters, dive-bombers and torpedo planes struck the naval base at Pearl Harbor. The ships lying at anchor on Battleship Row sustained direct hits. Also hit were the base’s fuel storage tanks and the Army Air Corps planes parked nearby at Hickam Field.

The surprise was as complete as it was devastating. Only this was an Army-Navy war game, the attackers were American pilots operating from the carriers Saratoga and Lexington, and the bombs they dropped were sacks of flour.

The lesson of “Grand Joint Exercise 4,” as it was called, is that forewarned is not always forearmed. It took the actual sinking of much of the U.S. battle fleet nearly a decade later to bring the lesson home to U.S. military planners that the age of the carrier had arrived.

Fast forward to 2006, when a small Chinese diesel-electric submarine surfaced well within torpedo-firing range from the 80,000-ton Kitty Hawk, having gone undetected by the carrier and her escorts. That incident ought to have been a loud wake-up call to the Navy that the age of the super-carrier is drawing to a close just as surely as the age of the battleship was coming to an end by the 1930s.”

“. . . . The question is also at the heart of an incisive and important essay in the forthcoming issue of Foreign Affairs by Christian Brose, the former staff director of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“The traditional model of U.S. military power is being disrupted, the way Blockbuster’s business model was amid the rise of Amazon and Netflix,” Brose writes. “A military made up of small numbers of large, expensive, heavily manned, and hard-to-replace systems will not survive on future battlefields, where swarms of intelligent machines will deliver violence at a greater volume and higher velocity than ever before.”

The logic here is the same as the one that decided the Battle of Agincourt, where the humble and effective English longbow made short work of the expensive and vulnerable French cavalry. Today’s version of that cavalry consists of aircraft carriers priced at $13 billion apiece and fighter jets that go for $90 million (and cost $30,000 an hour to fly).”

How a Pentagon Contract Became an Identity Crisis for Google – The New York Times

By Scott Shane, Cade Metz and Daisuke Wakabayashi
May 30, 2018

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WASHINGTON — Fei-Fei Li is among the brightest stars in the burgeoning field of artificial intelligence, somehow managing to hold down two demanding jobs simultaneously: head of Stanford University’s A.I. lab and chief scientist for A.I. at Google Cloud, one of the search giant’s most promising enterprises.

Yet last September, when nervous company officials discussed how to speak publicly about Google’s first major A.I. contract with the Pentagon, Dr. Li strongly advised shunning those two potent letters.

“Avoid at ALL COSTS any mention or implication of AI,” she wrote in an email to colleagues reviewed by The New York Times. “Weaponized AI is probably one of the most sensitized topics of AI — if not THE most. This is red meat to the media to find all ways to damage Google.”

via How a Pentagon Contract Became an Identity Crisis for Google – The New York Times

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | Pending Approval
Ugly and complicated, my heart goes out to both sides in this debate. I fear that my hero Barack Obama will go down in history as the man who made drone assignation OK, and in the next few centuries, quality of life could be utterly diminished by a drumbeat of drone assassinations in many countries. Parents will be telling their children not to go outside, because of the danger of drone attacks, because the parent is on someone’s enemies list. A world of assassination drones will make The Hunger Games look prescient. Google might want to joint these contracts, while officially lobbying for all drone killing to be banned as a modernization of the Geneva Conventions for appropriate methods of war.
David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth-century Vietnam,” and blogs at TheTaySonRebellion.com and InconvenientNewsWorldwide.wordpress.com

Pentagon Signals Security Risks of Climate Change – by Coral Davenport – NYT Oct 2014

InconvenientNews.Net

“WASHINGTON — The Pentagon on Monday released a report asserting decisively that climate change poses an immediate threat to national security, with increased risks from terrorism, infectious disease, global poverty and food shortages. It also predicted rising demand for military disaster responses as extreme weather creates more global humanitarian crises.

The report lays out a road map to show how the military will adapt to rising sea levels, more violent storms and widespread droughts. The Defense Department will begin by integrating plans for climate change risks across all of its operations, from war games and strategic military planning situations to a rethinking of the movement of supplies.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, speaking Monday at a meeting of defense ministers in Peru, highlighted the report’s findings and the global security threats of climate change.

“The loss of glaciers will strain water supplies in several areas of our hemisphere,” Mr. Hagel said…

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The Pentagon’s ‘Terminator Conundrum’: Robots That Could Kill on Their Own – The New York Times

“CAMP EDWARDS, Mass. — The small drone, with its six whirring rotors, swept past the replica of a Middle Eastern village and closed in on a mosque-like structure, its camera scanning for targets.No humans were remotely piloting the drone, which was nothing more than a machine that could be bought on Amazon. But armed with advanced artificial intelligence software, it had been transformed into a robot that could find and identify the half-dozen men carrying replicas of AK-47s around the village and pretending to be insurgents.

As the drone descended slightly, a purple rectangle flickered on a video feed that was being relayed to engineers monitoring the test. The drone had locked onto a man obscured in the shadows, a display of hunting prowess that offered an eerie preview of how the Pentagon plans to transform warfare.Almost unnoticed outside defense circles, the Pentagon has put artificial intelligence at the center of its strategy to maintain the United States’ position as the world’s dominant military power. It is spending billions of dollars to develop what it calls autonomous and semiautonomous weapons and to build an arsenal stocked with the kind of weaponry that until now has existed only in Hollywood movies and science fiction, raising alarm among scientists and activists concerned by the implications of a robot arms race.”

Source: The Pentagon’s ‘Terminator Conundrum’: Robots That Could Kill on Their Own – The New York Times

 

“Hundreds of scientists and experts warned in an open letter last year that developing even the dumbest of intelligent weapons risked setting off a global arms race. The result, the letter warned, would be fully independent robots that can kill, and are cheap and as readily available to rogue states and violent extremists as they are to great powers.”

I am with these hundreds of scientists and experts. Who wants to fix climate change, which will involve annoying life style changes, and save the human race and thousands of species from extinction, only to have to worry about being executed at any time, any where, from a killer drone, from anybody.