The US Department of Defense has signed a contract with a company specializing in facial recognition, to integrate this technology into drones.
It was to be expected. The Pentagon plans to retrofit its drones with facial recognition technology. The specialized media NewScientist spotted an $800,000 contract on February 23, 2023, between the US military and the company specializing in AI, RealNetworks. This partnership would be the second phase of a process launched in 2021 to implement facial recognition in mini-drones, also called sUAS for “ Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems ».
The US Department of Defense specifies that the main missions of these devices would be intelligence and identification during special operations.
The software would be integrated in the device as well as in its on-board computer and would be able respond independently in real time », indicates the report. We cannot yet concretely determine what the autonomous powers would be. Given the missions envisaged, it may be the follow-up of an individual identified from a database, for example.
Still imperfect technology
Only mini-drones are targeted for now. It would therefore be devices the size of the models sold for tourism or even small remote-controlled aircraft (around two meters wide). RealNetworks, the company behind the product, is known for being one of the first companies to develop media players before making a shift to AI.
Human surveillance by facial recognition raises questions about the protection of the right to privacy, as well as about the real effectiveness of this technology. The error rate for identification, especially remotely, is still high. It should be noted that countries, such as China, have completely adopted facial recognition with terminals located in public places, schools and administrations.
On the battlefield, this tool is still new and suggests that one day robots will be able to identify and kill autonomously. So far, no law or treaty has been signed to govern this technology in times of war.
If you liked this article, you will like the following ones: do not miss them by subscribing to Numerama on Google News.