China's "Brightest Children" Being Recruited For AI Arms Race With The U.S.
And speaking the students, who had to be under 18 to enter the program, the professor described they must possess the following:
“A passion for developing new weapons is a must … and they must also be patriots.”
The program formally launched on October 28 at the headquarters of one of China's largest defense contractors, Norinco.
Image via India Analytics Magazine
It what seems an unusually bold PR move considering the "sensitive" and controversial nature of such a program, BIT actually posted a group photo of the 31 youth entering the training on its website along with what appears to be some of the adult sponsors of the program.
One student said in an official statement: “We are walking a new path, doing things that nobody has done before.” The course is to eventually lead to placement in a PhD program which will produce "the next leaders of China’s AI weapons program," according to an institute statement.
Meanwhile the SCMP report which first broke news of the program extensively quoted an expert in emerging cybertechnologies at the Center for Policy Research at United Nations University in New York named Eleonore Pauwels, who expressed deep concern over the BIT course, saying, “This is the first university program in the world designed to aggressively and strategically encourage the next generation to think, design and deploy AI for military research and use.”
Today in 'Black Mirror episodes come to life,' China's brightest children are being recruited to develop AI 'killer bots' https://t.co/1OA1xY9OIA
— Mathew Ingram (@mathewi) November 8, 2018
“Think of robot swarms capable of delivering harmful toxins in food or biotech supply chains,” she said. The BIT program will likely involve "students starting to think about how to harness the convergence of AI and genetics systems to design and deploy powerful combinations of weapons that can target, with surgical precision, specific populations,” Pauwels described, according to the SCMP report.
Alarmingly Pauwels further outlined the following scenario related to the BIT program:
“[It] may also lead to new forms of warfare, from highly sophisticated automated cyberattacks to what you could call an ‘internet of Battle Things’, where an array of robots and sensors play a role in defense, offence and in collecting intelligence.”