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Monday, August 24, 2020

DARPA Test AI Beats Human Fighter Pilot

Quite an event, will this be the future of many kinds military interactions?   Some of the details in the interaction, comparing AI, human training and ingrained human behaviors,  are quite interesting.

Artificial Intelligence Easily Beats Human Fighter Pilot in DARPA Trial
Aug. 20, 2020 | By Brian W. Everstine in Air Force Magazine

In the battle of artificial intelligence versus a human fighter pilot, it wasn’t even close.

The artificial intelligence algorithm, developed by Heron Systems, swept a human F-16 pilot in a simulated dogfight 5-0 in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s AlphaDogfight Trials on Aug. 20. The company beat out seven other companies before going head to head with “Banger,” a pilot from the District of Columbia Air National Guard and a recent graduate of the Air Force Weapons School’s F-16 Weapons Instructor Course. The pilot, whose full name was not provided, is an operational fighter pilot with more than 2,000 hours in the F-16.

Banger and Heron Systems’ AI fought in five different basic fighter maneuver scenarios with the simulated fight only using the Fighting Falcon’s guns, and each time the AI was able to out maneuver and take out Banger. The algorithm operated within the limits of the F-16—meaning it did not pull Gs beyond what a real-world aircraft could do. However, Banger said after the event that the jet was not limited by the training and thinking that is engrained in an Air Force pilot.

For example, Air Force Instructions outline how an F-16 pilot performs basic fighter maneuvers and establishes some limits such as not passing within 500 feet or a limit on the angle of attack when firing the gun. The AI did not need to follow these instructions, which helped it gain an advantage. Pilots habits are built based on procedures and adhering to training rules, and the AI exploited that.

The AI also is able to make adjustments on a “nanosecond level” where the human “OODA loop”—observe, orient, decide, and act—takes longer, giving the algorithm another advantage.

Banger survived longer in each successive round, though he was not able to hit the AI’s F-16, which was “flying” with the callsign “Falco.” He started the contest following the basic rules, and in following rounds tried to learn the methods of the algorithm, which flew more aggressively.  ... " 

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