According to The South China Morning Post, “some of China’s smartest students have been recruited straight from high school to begin training as the world’s youngest AI weapons scientists.” A total of 27 boys and four girls all under the age of 18 were chosen for the four-year “experimental program for intelligent weapons systems” at the Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT) from more than 5,000 candidates. From the report: The BIT is one of the country’s top weapons research institutes, and the launch of the new program is evidence of the weight it places on the development of AI technology for military use. “These kids are all exceptionally bright, but being bright is not enough,” said a BIT professor who was involved in the screening process but asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the subject. “We are looking for other qualities such as creative thinking, willingness to fight, a persistence when facing challenges,” he said. “A passion for developing new weapons is a must … and they must also be patriots.”
Each student will be mentored by two senior weapons scientists, one from an academic background and the other from the defense industry, according to the program’s brochure. After completing a short program of course work in the first semester, the students will be asked to choose a speciality field, such as mechanical engineering, electronics or overall weapon design. They will then be assigned to a relevant defense laboratory where they will be able to develop their skills through hands-on experience.
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