Fighter pilots soon out of work?

The ins and outs of self-driving vehicles have been much in the news, as have concerns over software systems taking over jobs.  

In the same vein comes news of piloting software that is able to dogfight better than experienced human pilots.  ALPHA, a system developed at the University of Cininnati, has outflown human pilots such as retired US Air Force Colonel Gene Lee.  

In past decades, Lee has flown against software in simulations and always managed to figure out and exploit its weaknesses.  In recent simulated tests with ALPHA, however, Lee was shot down in every encounter, even when the software was handicapped with inferior weapons or speeds.  

ALPHA runs on standard computer gaming components, its software using Genetic Fuzzy Tree algorithms (and not the more topical Deep Learning approach). 

Immediate plans are for further development against other pilots and in more realistic simulations.  In the longer term, a system like ALPHA may be integrated into fighter planes as a kind of assistant ("your AI dogfight wingman"?)  The endgame, of course, is likely autonomous flight.

But, don't worry, Maverick!  ALPHA will never be able to describe its exploits in a bar using its hands for planes like a real pilot.


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