What is Putin up to? Russia teams up with China to build terrifying army of robot weapons
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A new report by the non-profit research and analysis group, CNA, found Russia is now prioritising artificial intelligence (AI) as it modernises its military. The ‘Artificial Intelligence Autonomy in Russia’ was published on Monday by the Virginia-based research group.
The report’s author worked with the Pentagon’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center to produce the first “major piece” of US research into Russia’s “main initiatives and achievements”.
According to the report: “Russian military strategists have placed a premium on establishing what they refer to as ‘information dominance on the battlefield’.
“And AI-enhanced technologies promise to take advantage of the data available on the modern battlefield to protect Russia’s own forces and deny that advantage to the adversary.”
The report also highlighted how Beijing is the “key partner for Russia in the sphere of high technology in general and artificial intelligence in particular”.
Samuel Bendett, an adviser for the report and member of the CNA Center for Autonomy and AI, said Moscow and Beijing’s partnership took place outside of the defence sector.
But warned the nation’s growing military ties have allowed the door to open for more comprehensive work together.
Mr Bendett told Newsweek: “Most of the effects of this relationship are seen in the civilian sphere – in the high-tech sector and academic cooperation in R&D space.
“At the same time, there is evidence of growing bilateral contacts in the military in general, such as the participation in strategic-level exercises such as Vostok, where command and control cooperation took part.”
Despite Beijing and Moscow having a history of feuds dominated by Cold War politics, Mr Bendett highlighted Russia helped China build an early warning system for missiles.
He continued and said the prospect of incorporating AI “bears watching, as both countries seek to bolster their C4ISR, and as both nations announce a growing number of bilateral military exercises and drills”.
However, senior research scientist Jeffrey Edmonds said it is difficult to discern what the two nuclear powers are actually doing.
He said: “From the Russian perspective, the rapprochement between the two countries has been one of the most consistent trends in Russian foreign policy for several decades.
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“What we are seeing is the defence cooperation is deepening, but also seemingly becoming more secretive.”
This latest report comes after Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said the country had begun to manufacture robots with autonomous militarised capabilities.
He said on Friday: “The serial production of combat robots has begun.
“What has emerged are not simply experimental, but robots that can be really shown in science-fiction films as they are capable of fighting on their own.”
Mr Shoigu added how the development of “what is called tomorrow’s weapons” for which he said “large-scale work is underway”.
Back in March, it was revealed China’s President Xi Jinping has more than doubled Beijing’s budget for its military.
For this year, the Communist leader has invested 1.355 trillion yuan – the equivalent of £152 billion – but analysts believe the country spends more on defence than it reports.
To date, Beijing’s Navy is the largest in the world with around 350 ships and submarines, with more than 130 major surface combatants.
On the other hand, two-thirds of the Russian military budget will be spent on purchasing and updating military gear.
The £44.1billion budget is slightly lower than the budget Britain has on improving its military.
Mr Putin’s nation has not neglected conventional firepower as other countries focus on a potential cyberwar.
Pavel Felgenhaur, a Moscow-based military analyst, said Moscow still believes “tanks win wars”.
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