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No need for humans: Israeli eyes autonomous robot AD system

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  • No need for humans: Israeli eyes autonomous robot AD system

    Ouch... HAL 9000 anyone? I would have thought the SA cannon mentioned had taught them a lesson... But, OTOH, this AD system wont worry about downing an airliner with civvies neither and so make good on critical thenths of seconds in an S-11 scenario... R.

    SOURCE: Wired´s Danger Room Blog
    DATE: JAN 22, 2008
    BY: Noah Shachtman

    Israel Eyes Thinking Machines to Fight 'Doomsday' Missile Strikes

    Israel has been hit in recent years by thousands and thousands of rockets, mortar shells, and missiles. And that could be just a preview of the onslaught Iran may one day unleash. So Israeli military leaders have begun early planning for a new, robotic defense system, armed with enough artificial intelligence that it "could take over completely" from flesh-and-blood operators. "It will be designed for... autonomous operations,' Brig. Gen. Daniel Milo, commander of Israel's air defense forces, tells Defense News' Barbara Opall-Rome. And in the event of a "doomsday" strike, Opall-Rome notes, the system could handle "attacks that exceed physiological limits of human command."

    Israel already uses a blend of Arrow and Patriot interceptors to handle incoming rockets and missiles. This new command-and-control program would be "superimposed over all those defenses" -- and over new ones to come.

    Quote: Experts here described the as-yet-unnamed system as a kind of supremely oriented, highly intuitive virtual coach-cum-battle manager whose primary mission would support system operators and commanders during engagements. As such, the super system would help Israeli air defenders pick the optimum timing, sequence and targets for specific interceptors.

    Air defense systems today often take a great deal of the work away from the troops who supposedly run them. The machines automatically slew to their targets, lock on... and then await instructions from flesh-and-blood.

    At least they do, most of the time. Back in October, however, some sort of glitch allowed a South African air defense cannon to spin out of control -- killing 9, and wounding 14 (see , R.).

    In "extreme scenarios, where the number of incoming weapons could overwhelm today’s [air defense] systems and their human operators, [Israel's] envisioned super system could take over completely," Opall-Rome writes.

    Quote: “It will be designed for man-in-the-loop as well as autonomous operations,” said Milo, the officer spearheading the vision within Israel’s user community. “But right now, our emphasis is on algorithms, not autonomy. Man-machine interface is the name of the game, because the more clever we make the interface, the more successful we’ll be in providing operators and commanders the situational awareness they’ll need to make very tough decisions...”

    “Our approach cannot be based exclusively on man-in-the-loop, nor can it rely only on the opposite. Rather, we need to build an operational concept and a system that is flexible and situationally dependent,” Milo said.

    In the future, and “under very complex scenarios,” Milo said, the envisioned super system would be able to generate a level of supreme situational awareness and snap intuitive capabilities that could surpass the very best wartime commanders.

    “We’re talking about something that sees everything and calculates everything and makes decisions that can only be made through a real revolution in BMC4ISR [Battle Management/Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance],” he said. “We’re not there yet, and it could take a decade. But this is our vision and we’re running in that direction.” Rings a bell somehow...