AI destroys top F-16 pilot In DARPA dogfight simulation

August 24, 2020

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An AI "pilot" developed by Heron Systems beat a graduate from the Air Force's highly selective USAF Weapons School 5 to 0 in DARPA's simulated aerial dogfight contest last week.

Heron Systems' AI was extremely aggressive in the games, with its AI pilot consistently able to turn and score killing hits on the simulated F-16 piloted by an unnamed Air Force pilot, with the call sign "Banger," a graduate of the Air Force's highly selective Weapons School at Nellis AFB. The AI exhibited "superhuman aiming ability" during the simulation, Mock said.

While the trials were not in anyway "definitive" of an AI pilot's future capabilities or even its viability, Mock said, at the same time "what we saw was that in this limited area, in this specific scenario, we've got AI that works."

DARPA intends to take the simulator used in the trials, and the simulations, to Nellis, where other Air Force pilots can take a stab at trying to beat AI pilots. Next steps will be to move on to testing AI pilots' capabilities to perform other types of aerial combat missions.

Am I the only one who thinks it's not a great idea to be training AI to be better at killing humans? The inevitable next step is for them to test the AI in an actual physical F-16, and the inevitable next step after that is the plot to Terminator 2: Judgment Day. I hope DARPA is also working on time machines, because it really seems like we're going to need them to undo the coming AI apocalypse.

UPDATE: Added a video from the event after the jump. It's 5 hours long, but you can skip to 4:39:53 for the start of the AI vs human dogfight.

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