Vladimir Putin believes artificial intelligence could lead to global monopolies and drone wars

Russian President Vladimir Putin at a student event Friday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin at a student event Friday.
Image: Alexei Druzhinin, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP
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While Microsoft and Google preach how society can be enhanced through artificial intelligence, not everyone is thinking about making the world a better place through Paxos algorithms for consensus protocols.

Russian president Vladimir Putin spoke about the potential power of artificial intelligence to students on Friday, saying “the one who becomes the leader in this sphere will be the ruler of the world,” according to Associated Press. He then said “it would be strongly undesirable if someone wins a monopolist position,” indicating that Russia would cooperate with other countries in the development of AI. While Russia is seen as skilled in technological propaganda, it has little presence in mainstream AI research.

Putin also envisioned a future for war where drones, ostensibly controlled by artificial intelligence, would fight proxy wars between countries.

“When one party’s drones are destroyed by drones of another, it will have no other choice but to surrender,” he said.

Russian companies have been actively researching autonomous weapons, such as drones, robots and missiles, which would be able to pick targets and fire on their own. Documents from the US military show similar strategies, where swarms of drones would assist troops with real-time intelligence gathering and air support.

Outside of future war games, a $100 million private Russian venture fund was recently formed to invest in AI startups worldwide. The fund’s first two investments were companies focusing on analyzing satellite imagery and creating mobile augmented reality.