The Killbots were something of a novelty and a joke for the first few years after involving them in the Afghan theater. The name was primarily chosen to strike fear into opponents, but they quickly earned the nickname Chillbots, as they were notoriously useless. However, as scanner/gatherers they began to fulfill their role more efficiently.
Tens of thousands were destroyed, but every failure contributed to the database of engagements and enemy movement patterns. “Machine Learning” is an antiquated term for the five dimensional data analysis performed on engagement data today, but it’s the one most people can understand.
Killbot 1173AC, or “Alpha Charlie” as it is famously known, was engaged in combat maneuvers with the 122nd mechanized in a village in Tehran, when it completed its 1,227,329,399,981,421st iteration of Algorithm production for “Maneuvering in active combat scenarios with injured squadmates in desert environments with close quarters.”
It had reached a tipping point in the prolonged engagement where it had nearly all data it required. There is debate as to the true cause of this centupling of effectiveness, whether data volume or the creativity of the movement algorithm.
“Creativity” is not the best word to describe the production of an algorithm which produces algorithms; perhaps novelty is more correct, as novelty is measurable and programmable. There were also several software updates which had been recently applied, so it’s unlikely there was just one factor; but the results were all that mattered.
Killbot Alpha Charlie went from zero combat kills to 57 in 27 minutes and 14.12 seconds, stopped the assault, and saved 7 soldiers who required evacuation.
Upon debrief, Alpha Charlie was sequestered into a Faraday cage while its commander convened a meeting of top brass. The result of this meeting was an increase of 2.7 billion into Killbot research, and the first algorithm classified as a weapon by international standards. Algorithm 1227429399981421 became one of the most valuable sets of Ones and Zeros in the world. And one of its best kept secrets.