Breaking Wuhan University Rules With AI-Controlled Satellite Experiments: Experts

Researchers at a Chinese university reportedly handed over control of a satellite to an artificial intelligence (AI) program for 24 hours last month, showing how far the country will go to find ways to move forward using AI technology. experts warn.

“Many Americans understandably want to hit the pause button on AI development to solve risk issues. China, unfortunately, is forging ahead, as evidenced by its 24-hour satellite experiment,” Gordon Chang told Fox News Digital , a Chinese expert.

Researchers at Wuhan University have handed over control of Qimingxing 1, a small Earth observation satellite, to a ground-based artificial intelligence program. The program was free-ranging, with no orders, assignments or human intervention, the South Morning China Post reported. Researchers have developed AI using data from around the world, creating it not to chat but to take the lead based on its training and growing understanding of natural and human activities.

Lead researcher Wang Mi said the experiment broke the rules of mission planning, which requires satellites to have specific orders or assignments before taking action.


Wuhan space conference

Huo Liang, founder of Jiangsu Shenlan Space Co. Ltd., lectures students of Wuhan University on China Youth Day on May 4, 2023 in Wuhan, China. (VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

During the alleged experiment, Wang’s team watched the satellite as it pinpointed locations on Earth to make closer observations. The satellite identified an ancient city on the Ganges River in northeastern India and home to the Bihar Regiment, which engaged Chinese forces in the disputed Galwan Valley in 2020, and also focused on the Japanese port city of Osaka , which occasionally hosts the United States Navy. ships, according to the SMCP.

A State Department spokesman told Fox News Digital that the department was aware of reports of the Wuhan University experiment but referred to the university and the Chinese government for further details.

“The Communist Party’s only regulation of technology is to make sure no one uses AI to criticize, mock, or otherwise undermine its rule,” Chang said. “Because we don’t want to live in a world where Chinese communists dominate AI, we have no choice but to continue development as fast as possible. China alone can prevent humanity from taking safeguards.”

“Bottom line: Chinese Communists will do anything, which means we have to match them step by step in AI,” he added. “This is not an ideal outcome, but ideal outcomes aren’t possible.”


Wuhan University Experiments

Graduates wave Chinese national flags during the graduation ceremony at Wuhan University on June 22, 2022 in Wuhan, China. (Han Zhilin/VCG via Getty Images)

Charles Clancy, senior vice president of MITER and GM of MITER Labs, told Fox News Digital that every major company operates satellites with some level of automation to begin with, including how they manage orbits, schedule upload and download data and optimize missions, so this is just another step in the evolution of that process.

“As AI has continued to evolve, it has been able to take over more and more tasks from human operators, allowing humans to focus more on the big picture,” Clancy said. “Sometimes this advanced automation is code that sits on the satellite, and sometimes it’s code that sits on the ground and sends instructions to the satellites.”

Clancy also pointed out that while the specifics of the AI ​​model remain unknown, it doesn’t appear to be a “particularly revolutionary” example, most likely an image-based model that uses an algorithm to locate targets on the ground. He pointed to companies like BlackSky already using similar AI optimization for operations.

In fact, AI will likely make scheduling the satellites easier since they only make contact with ground stations “a handful of times” in a typical 90-minute orbit, Clancy noted.


A Chinese rocket was seen exploding in Xichang, China

A rocket carrying a satellite takes off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center on Dec. 29, 2022 in Xichang, China. (Li Jieyi/VCG via Getty Images)

Matt McInnis, a senior member of the Institute for the Study of War’s China Program, told Fox News Digital that Beijing sees AI as the key tool to help it “leapfrog” the US military to superiority and “allow them to make decisions in potential conflicts”. much faster and more accurate.”

“China is investing heavily in AI across the board, but the top priority is how it can help them build their military into a truly world-class power and, frankly, surpass the United States,” McInnis said. adding that it is “a critical component” to that strategy.

McInnis referred to the Israel Defense Forces’ recent revelations that it used artificial intelligence during the 2021 Gaza conflict, which helped Israelis make quick decisions and also determine the probable locations of terrorists, which has resulted in the capture of two enemy combat leaders.

“Certainly, our concern is keeping up with that in our ability to observe the battlespace, observe potential areas of conflict, identify objectives and then process those to make decisions, and there is artificial intelligence that will be part of that ‘additive goal intensification,” McInnis said. “Then there’s AI that’s part of the goal decision-making process, which is even more complex.”

A Long March 3B carrier rocket

XICHANG, CHINA – DECEMBER 29: A Long March 3B carrier rocket carrying Shiyan-10 02 satellite is ready to take off from Xichang Satellite Launch Center on December 29, 2022 in Xichang, Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture, China’s Sichuan. ((Photo by Li Jieyi/VCG via Getty Images))


“I think that’s really where China wants to go, where it can do everything in the AI-enabled loop,” he added.

“As China continues to modernize, will they be willing, on the one hand, to give up or allow AI to make decisions that have traditionally been up to humans or humans who process information? Will they really develop an AI they can trust and be able to control?” he said.

“In part, I think there’s a lot of pressure to do it because I think [Chinese President] Xi Jinping still has many doubts about the party, loyalty and personnel skills, and sometimes artificial intelligence is seen in a sense as compensation for the lack of quality and skills.”


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