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US Military Changing ‘Killing Machine’ Robo-tank Program After Controversy

The US Department of Defense is making changes to its request for information on the Advanced Targeting and Lethality Automated System, or ATLAS, which states that the program aims to use Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to provide “ground combat vehicles with the capability to acquire, identify, and engage targets at least 3X faster than the current manual process.”

Various media reports had depicted the program as a dystopian effort to turn tanks into autonomous weapons systems. The US Army now wants to emphasize that the program will adhere to the 2012 Defense Department directive 3000.09, which requires armed machines to be subject to human veto power. One Army official explained that ATLAS is not about “putting the machine in a position to kill anybody.”

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