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Artificial intelligence is revolutionizing warfare and espionage in ways similar to the invention of nuclear arms and ultimately could destroy humanity, according to a new government-sponsored study.

The range of coming advanced AI weapons include: robot assassins, superfast cyber attack machines, driverless car bombs and swarms of small explosive kamikaze drones.

The report also offers an alarming warning that artificial intelligence could spin out of control: “Speculative but plausible hypotheses suggest that General AI and especially superintelligence systems pose a potentially existential threat to humanity.”

The 132-page report was written by Gregory C. Allen and Taniel Chan for the director of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, (IARPA), the U.S. intelligence community’s research unit.

The study calls for policies designed to preserve American military and intelligence superiority, boost peaceful uses of AI, and address the dangers of accidental or adversarial attacks from automated systems.

The report predicts that AI will produce a revolution in both military and intelligence affairs comparable to the emergence of aircraft, noting unsuccessful diplomatic efforts in 1899 to ban the use of aircraft for military purposes.

“The applications of AI to warfare and espionage are likely to be as irresistible as aircraft,” the report says. “Preventing expanded military use of AI is likely impossible.”

Russia is planning extensive automated weapons systems and according to the report plans to have 30 percent of its combat forces remotely controlled or autonomous by 2030.

Currently, the Pentagon has restricted the use of lethal autonomous systems.

Image Credit: AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File