Watch a champion fighter jet AI destroy a human pilot in a flight simulator

Originally published at:


I think the difference will be even larger in the air. A good pilot can take 10G in a pressure suit without passing out, but they won’t be feeling great. We could make airframes that would take 20G but we don’t because of the pilot. Top Gun won’t be the same when it stars a Raspberry Pi, but that’s the future for you.


I get the impression that 90% of being a fighter pilot is being able to maintain consciousness at massive G-forces. A drone doesn’t even have to consider that.

One of the things virtually no science fiction had been able to cope with is the idea of an end to human agency.


I think Ian Banks does a nice job of dealing with an end to human agency in the Culture books (e.g. Player of Games).


I think that Aug20 contest happened and the human got his ass kicked.

This is cued up to the finals, but you can watch from the beginning here.

But this video is 5 hours long! How long is it if I ‘watch from the beginning’?

1 Like

Confession: on my first readthrough of the headline I thought “Champion Fighter Jet Ai” was the name of a martial artist and briefly wondered how Mr. Ai’s fighting skills would translate to a flight simulator.


It’s the same video - the cueing up to the relevant point just didn’t work on the embed.

1 Like

Yeah - that figures. Anyone any idea what the original cueing point was meant to be? @AndreaJames

The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman, predicts the obsolescence of humans as pilots (of starships). Fast-paced; set in a far future, then a farther future when the protagonist is still alive due to the time dilation on his faster-than-light first deployment, then a far-farther future, etc.; I think it’s more or less a satire of Haldeman’s own experience of war, as a Vietnam veteran.


Go to 4:39:30 for the start of the human vs AI fight.


The latest Battlestar Galactica series was often entertaining and provocative, but out of all the silly things in that show the one thing I just couldn’t suspend my disbelief for was the idea that human-piloted fightercraft could possibly hold their own in a head-to-head dogfight in space against robots. The robotic craft could easily have full 360 degree perception, ridiculous high acceleration, perfect coordination with other fighters on their own side, essentially perfect aim, higher risk tolerance, etc. but what really got me was that it would be pretty damn hard to spot the fighters and shoot them down (with bullets!) if they just painted their fighters vantablack or even just regular matte black.

Yeah, same goes for many other space fantasy shows I guess. But it somehow felt worse with the Cylons to me than it did with, say, Star Wars droid pilots. Maybe because the Paul Reubens-voiced RX droid taught me long ago not to take droid pilots seriously.


where does it say that the AI is that primitive?

looks like all you have to do is have some automatic rockets mounted on the top, ready to fire at an enemy aircraft when the two planes are directly topside of each other when they’re making those little circles. boom

Is a Commodore 64 that has a 6010 CPU plenty powerful to control an alchool powered robot that loos a bit like Homer Simpson, or a robot looking like a Calivornia Governator.

1 Like

I have long wanted to see historical reenactments of various WW1 air battles, done with autonomous and radio controlled model aircraft. It’d be fun to set this kind of AI loose in that state-space, and see what kind of alternate history would emerge…


Indeed. But the short analysis I read pointed out that was perhaps less than shocking. This was not exactly the equivalent of Deep Blue’s victory over Kasporov. The AI routinely took risks that few human pilots would dare to use regularly. Nevertheless, the idea was to learn from what AI can expose and optimize and in that sense it was an important milestone.

In the star wars universe, droids generally are restricted from thinking or creativity.

If you put a droid on a gun turret and tell it “shoot designated targets” it will always outperform a human. But putting a droid in a fighter cockpit, it wouldn’t have the mental capacity and creativity to be a successful fighter pilot. At least within the Star Wars Lore.

Unless you have a really outstanding droid like R2.

You are right, although the current batch of AI agents are NOT modeling reality well enough to actually win a real dog fight, for example the simulated bullets they shoot instantaneously do abstract damage to targets in the cone. In real life the bullets take time to travel, and over the distances involved that can be significant (and the damage degrades systems differently, and/or can kill the airframe much faster or slower then expected depending on exact hit location)

They also are assuming perfect reactions from the airframe, no winds, and so on.

Even so they are very impressive, and all the things they are lacking are not hard in theory, just a little more engineering.

I think the bigger problem with them outperforming in the short term is the jets are designed around human limits, and they have all that extra weight for systems that keep humans alive (which I assume are heavier and bulkier then the computer and power for it that you need to run the AI).

Ah, also the harder then just figuring out that bullets don’t move at infinite speed, is the AIs currently get perfect information, they don’t have to deal with sensor systems and the enemy deliberately attempting to be hard to see.

I don’t think we are at the end of the line for human dog fighting supremacy, but I think we can see it from here!

Yeah, well the crew of this AC-130 gunboat acted like droids.