Assessing the Military Implications of AlphaGo: A Year On

As Deep Mind prepares to retire AlphaGo from professional play, a mere 14 months after its release, the implications for militarized AI are staggering. Following up on “The Military Implications of AlphaGo,” the present analysis explores how the progress of AlphaGo, as well as development of commercial drones and changes in international relations, over the past 14 months, is likely to reshape the role militarized AI.

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Military Implications of AlphaGo

Google Deep Mind Challenge (March 8-15, 2016), is likely a seminal moment not only in Go and human vs. machine competition, but also in military operations. With various databases and robotic tools at its disposal, one can imagine AlphaWar (a hypothetical militarized version of AlphaGo) would be able to take in real-time data from a battlefield and beyond, run a deep analysis of all available data and metadata, prioritize targets, key regions, etc. and carry out appropriate strikes faster and more efficiently – all without human input. The process itself is not new to our military. AlphaWar would only streamline the existing, human-based analysis, make faster decisions, and likely do it all better.

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Value of Traditional Wisdom

Traditional Wisdom includes short stories, sayings, and even jokes, produced as easy to remember/easy to digest bits by various cultures, in order to communicate crucial and complicated ideas to the general population. For all their simplicity, they can serve as an important source of critical thought, and even answer deep philosophical questions, without the need for specialized knowledge.

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The (im)possibility of Translation

Translations are a common part of our every-day experience, whether in terms of world news or texts we read. What we often fail to appreciate is the relative impossibility of translation, especially when complex ideas or texts are in question. To demonstrate this impossibility, the analysis relies on three languages (Arabic, Bosnian, Chinese), with two examples each.

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Missing the Point

Quite often, our arguments and discussions go nowhere, and all that effort is wasted. We may believe that the other side is irrational, or that they’re simply stubborn, hard-headed, or stupid, However, on closer examination, it turns out that the reason for this deadlock is the fact that we quite often miss the point of our own arguments.

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The Context Toolbox

In considering the six questions of context, question 5 (general context) was left relatively undeveloped. Here, we return to the issue with a series of tool-box questions, which both help us develop some crucial context points, and help us to identify the weak points of claims, in a neat and systematic way.

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