Robots: 1 Humans: 0 – Heron Systems’ jet fighter AI took down its human opponent this weekend

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Maybe you got your paperwork done in time, maybe you didn’t, but that doesn’t really matter now. The AlphaDogFight trial, which saw several AI ‘agents’ — software pilots designed to take on aircraft in combat — battle it out for aerial supremacy, has concluded. And, since you probably read the headline before you got this far, you already know that the AI system won.

Flight of the Heron

There were several agents in contention for the privilege of taking on a lone, anonymous Air Force pilot but the eventual winner was a defence contractor called Heron Systems whose agent took out aviation specialists Lockheed in order to secure the eventual win and the bout against a real human. Who probably wasn’t all that thrilled with himself.

And that’d be because the Heron Systems agent took out its human opponent 5-0. The reasons behind that? Basically, it’s a sanctioned aimbot and, in a real-world situation, it would also push an aircraft harder. It doesn’t have to worry about blood returning to its face after a crazy turn before opening fire — the lack of G-force compensation works in favour of the AI. As a result, it can turn harder and faster and it doesn’t miss.

The video of the stream is about five hours long but if you’re looking to watch it all going down, you can skip the first four hours or so of the buildup to the actual human vs. AI bout. The real action takes place in the last 20 to 30 minutes (starting from 4:40) if you want to see the first glimmers of the robot uprising. The first bout, in particular, is a little devastating for the human pilot.

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