Air Force Secretary Flies AI-Controlled Aircraft

( – Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall last week flew in an F-16 fighter jet that was controlled not by a human pilot but by artificial intelligence.

The AI-controlled jet called Visa took the controls flying Kendall in maneuvers at speeds of over 550 mph as it engaged in dogfight exercises over Edwards Air Force Base in California.

Kendall traveled to the California desert where test pilot Chuck Yeager first broke the speed of sound to witness the AI-controlled Vista in real-time and discuss the future of artificial intelligence in air combat.

The Air Force Secretary told reporters who were invited to watch the maiden flight on the condition that they not report on it until afterward that it would be a security risk if the US military did not utilize artificial intelligence.

After the hour-long flight, the secretary said he saw enough to know that the still-learning artificial intelligence could determine whether it should launch weapons or not.

However, some humanitarian and arms control groups seeking restrictions on artificial intelligence are concerned that the use of AI in combat could one day enable militaries to kill people without human control.

Secretary Kendall told reporters that weapons utilizing artificial intelligence would always include human oversight.

Within classified simulators located in buildings protected against electronic surveillance, the US Air Force is training new test pilots on its AI-equipped fighter jets.

Visa’s operators told reporters that no other country has an AI fighter jet in which the software first learns millions of data points in the simulator that it can then test during real-world flights. That real-world data is then programmed into the simulator where the machine-learning process continues.

While China uses artificial intelligence, there is no evidence that its military has figured out how to run tests outside of a simulator. The test pilots told reporters that Vista, like any junior flight officer, can only learn tactics in the air.

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