It’s a chilling thought isn’t it? Just imagine it. Programmed to think for and execute by themselves, robots at CIA headquarters in Langley analyze codes and SIGINT that say in essence that a nuclear attack from Russia is imminent within the next few weeks; the only wise course of action is to be the first aggressor by launching a nuclear attack on Russia. The President of the United States is notified and he immediately summons the service chiefs and the Director of the CIA.
Strike or wait? After two hours of deliberation and heated arguments, the decision is made. The President hinges his decision on a statement made by the CIA Director, a real life hero and friend in whom he has implicit trust. ‘In five years of using this robotic system,’ she had said. ‘We have had a 99% accuracy of predictions. Why afflict ourselves with self-imposed amnesia? Hesitation at this point can only be a sign of cowardice.’
Few days later, America launches a series of nuclear strikes on Russia. Entire cities are wiped out in an instant. The death toll is unimaginable. China and Iran, close allies of Russia launch nuclear strikes on America. Israel takes a preemptive action and strikes Iran. Egypt and other Arab nations declare war on Israel. The whole world is in chaos. Six months later, the earth looks like it took a direct hit from a dozen asteroids within the space of an hour. An actual Armageddon. And all for what?
A small group of sophisticated, devilish-minded hackers from Eastern Europe had infiltrated the CIA’s system and had planted false signals upon which America had acted. They had essentially manipulated the robots.
I have good reason to believe that this pattern of events will not play out as described. There is a somewhat reliable prediction of how the winding down will happen. However, one cannot help but imagine what role weaponized AI will play in the future of warfare.
Oluwatotan is the CEO of PivotAfrica