Nov 23, 2023
The United States government is leading global efforts to build strong norms that will promote the responsible military use of artificial intelligence and autonomous systems. Last week, the State Department announced that 47 states have now endorsed the "Political Declaration on Responsible Military Use of Artificial Intelligence and Autonomy" that the government first launched at The Hauge on Feb. 16.
AI refers to the ability of machines to perform tasks that would otherwise require human intelligence, such as recognizing patterns, learning from experience, drawing conclusions, making predictions or generating recommendations.
Military AI capabilities includes not only weapons but also decision support systems that help defense 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.
"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. The political declaration builds on these efforts. It advances international norms on responsible military use of AI and autonomy, provides a basis for building common understanding, and creates a community for all states to exchange best practices," said Sasha Baker, under secretary of defense for policy.
The Defense Department has led the world through publishing a series of policies on military AI and autonomy, most recently the Data, Analytics, and AI Adoption Strategy released on November 2.
The declaration consists of a series of non-legally binding guidelines describing 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 behaviors, and that high-consequence applications undergo senior-level review.
As the State Department's press release on November 13 states: "This groundbreaking initiative contains 10 concrete measures to guide the responsible development and use of military applications of AI and autonomy. The declaration and the measures it outlines, are an important step in building an international framework of responsibility to allow states to harness the benefits of AI while mitigating the risks. The U.S. is committed to working together with other endorsing states to build on this important development."
The 10 measures are: