Home SCIENCE Rise of the Terminators – Weapons That Think For Themselves

Rise of the Terminators – Weapons That Think For Themselves

Weapons and warfare have become increasingly sophisticated; the latest battlefield technology is starting to look more like a computer game with wirelessly connected soldiers communicating via sound and vision to drones carrying satellite-linked wi-fi hotspots & given orders by commanders that could be on the of the side of the world.

image/text credit: Curious Droid 

But the weapons of the future won’t need soldiers or commanders to operate them because they will make the decision of what or whom to target themselves using Artificial intelligence.The pentagon is spending billions on developing a new generation of Lethal Autonomous Weapons (LAWS) like robotic fighter Jets, missiles that decide what to attack and ships that hunt enemy submarines.

image/text credit: Curious Droid 

For now, remote weapons like UAV’s or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are directed by humans from the safety of cubicles often hundreds or thousands of miles away from the conflict zone and as such, any decision to use lethal force is made by a person.


Autonomous missiles are an area which is already in use with systems like the British “fire and forget” Brimstone missiles. Once it has been primed with target information it can work on its own to select the best target and co-operate with up 24 other missiles to coordinate a staggered attack against swarms of enemy vehicles or boats, if it can’t find a target it will self-destruct.

Meanwhile, DARPA, the military research arm of the Pentagon has also unveiled the “Sea Hunter”, an autonomous surface vessel that is designed stay at sea for months and track even the quietest submarines anywhere in the world. Because it is designed not to have any human crew during its operation, it must navigate busy shipping lanes and interact with an intelligent human adversary by its self then communicate its data back to its control centre or take the appropriate action if it were to be armed.