AI Could Be the Next Arms Race, And Russia is Eager to Take the Lead

The Russian government has been open about its desire to incorporate robotics and AI into its military modernization efforts, making headway with UGVs, UAVs, and eventually AI-controlled vehicles. (Image credit: By Vitaly V. Kuzmin/Wikimedia Commons)

The Russian government has been open about its desire to incorporate robotics and AI into its military modernization efforts, making headway with UGVs, UAVs, and eventually AI-controlled vehicles.

According to Business Insider, Russia's military has become the leader in weaponized robotics.

With a number of ambitious projects in development, Russia intends to make everything from unmanned vehicles to fully autonomous artificial intelligence into integral parts of its armed forces.

Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs)

The Nerekhta: this tracked UGV can be equipped with large-caliber machine guns, a grenade launcher, and anti-tank guided missiles.

The Uran-9 and Vikhr: a heavier class of UGV that will function more like infantry fighting vehicles.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)

After a decade of playing catch up, Russia has made significant progress in the drone arena, with a fleet logging 16,000 missions and 96,000 hours of flight time in Syria .

Viktor Bondarev, the chairman of the Federation Council’s Defense and Security Committee, announced that Russia is pursuing the concept of a drone "swarm" — dozens and potentially hundreds of drones connected to a single network that allows them to operate as a unit.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Bondarev implied earlier this month that Russia is eager to get AI into military vehicles:

"The day is nearing when vehicles will get artificial intelligence. So why not entrust aviation or air defense to them?" he told reporters on November 1.

As Russian President Vladimir Putin noted to students at the start of school this year, AI will determine who holds the power in the future:

“Artificial intelligence is the future, not only for Russia but for all humankind,” he said, via live video beamed to 16,000 selected schools. “Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world.”

“The US, Russia, and China are all in agreement that artificial intelligence will be the key technology underpinning national power in the future,” says Gregory C. Allen, a fellow at nonpartisan think tank the Center for a New American Security.

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