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U.S. Air Force Giving Military Drones the Ability to Recognize Faces

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An aerial drone in flight.

Software commissioned by the U.S. Air Force would allow drones to identify people via face recognition technology.

Credit: aappp/Shutterstock

Under a contract between the U.S. Department of Defense and RealNetworks, the Seattle-based company's machine learning software will equip autonomous drones operated by the U.S. Air Force with facial recognition technology.

The contract indicated special operations forces will use the drones for intelligence gathering and foreign missions.

University of California, Berkeley's Stuart Russell expressed concern about the contract, which states the software will "open the opportunity for real-time autonomous response by the robot."

Russell said it's "hard to see what else it refers to, other than lethal action."

The U.S. government's policy on lethal autonomous weapons calls for "appropriate levels of human judgment," but the Pentagon has not clarified what that means exactly.

From New Scientist
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