First-world problems? What do you do when you run out of ‘legitimate’ military targets? According to the security ‘establishment’, you simply leverage unregulated artificial intelligence:

“Nothing is immune. It is a war policy that is increasingly being helped by the use of big data, automation software and AI”

As standards bodies and legislators work to wordsmith international standards and laws to control the literal weaponization of AI, regulators are preparing to enforce the ethical use of the nascent technology. According to the US DOD: “The United States has been a global leader in responsible military use of AI and autonomy, with the Department of Defense championing ethical AI principles and policies on autonomy in weapon systems for over a decade.”

How does Ethical AI Reconcile with Military Objectives 2

The use of AI in wartime is broader than we might assume: Military AI capabilities include not only weapons but also decision support systems that help defence leaders at all levels make better and more timely decisions, from the battlefield to the boardroom, and systems relating to everything from finance, payroll, and accounting, to the recruiting, retention, and promotion of personnel, to collection and fusion of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance data.

On Nov 2, the Pentagon released a set of Data, Analytics, and AI Adoption guidelines that although non-binding, nonetheless represent best practices for responsible military use of AI. These guidelines include ensuring that military AI systems are auditable, have explicit and well-defined uses, are subject to rigorous testing and evaluation across their lifecycle, have the ability to detect and avoid unintended behaviours, and that high-consequence applications undergo senior-level review.

The ‘declaration’ was developed by developed by the “Chief Digital and AI Office” and uses buzzwords like agile, quality, metrics and values.

Ultimately, this initiative and others like it unambiguously drive the discussion towards the need for accountability.

And that’s something everyone can agree on.

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