YUMA PROVING GROUND, Arizona—In the 105-degree heat of the southern Arizona desert, the Army has linked together experimental drones, super guns, ground robots and satellites in a massive test of its future warfare plans.
On Wednesday, the service mounted the first demonstration of Project Convergence, bringing in some 34 fresh-out-of-the-lab technologies. The goal: to show that these weapons and tools—linked and led by artificial intelligence—can allow humans to find a target, designate it as such, and strike it — from the air, from kilometers away, using any available weapon and in a fraction of the time it takes to execute that kill today. It was an ambitious test that revealed how far Army leaders have come in their goal of networked warfare across the domains of air, land, space and cyberspace. It also provided a vivid picture of how much further the Army has to go.
For example, much attention has focused on whether children transmit COVID-19 as often as adults. This is a difficult question to answer through the types of studies that can be done in most settings. A study from Korea suggested that older children transmitted COVID-19 to people living in their households at rates equal to or higher than adults, and was widely reported as jeopardizing safe school reopening. As in all contact tracing studies, differences in when symptoms appear and when tests are available made it difficult to tell who infected whom in a household. When the authors subsequently reported that the direction of transmission was unknown, raising concern about the conclusions of the original paper, this correction was not widely communicated.