Pentagon Adopts Ethical Artificial Intelligence Principles

Mar 2, 2020

by ASME.org

In February 2019, the Trump administration launched the American AI Initiative, signaling that the United States aims to establish itself as the global leader of artificial intelligence development. To that end, on February 24, 2020, the Department of Defense officially adopted a set of five ethical principles for the use of AI in war. The five principals seek to render warfare AI: responsible, equitable,  traceable, reliable, and governable.

These principles follow the recommendations made by the Defense Innovation Board to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in October 2019, after 15 months of consulting AI experts among American industry, academia, government, and the public. AI technologies will be mandated to be traceable in implementation, requiring a monitoring mechanism to analyze how the technologies behave in reality. There will also be need for a policy that allows humans to override AI technologies, across the board, when necessary.

The DOD Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) will be responsible for coordinating the implantation of the AI ethical principles, which will apply to both combative and non-combative uses of AI technologies. JAIC’s mission is to “transform the DOD by accelerating the delivery and adoption of AI to achieve mission impact at scale.”

In reference to the new ethical AI principles, Secretary Esper stated, “AI technology will change much about the battlefield of the future, but nothing will change America’s steadfast commitment to responsible and lawful behavior. The adoption of AI ethical principles will enhance the department’s commitment to upholding the highest ethical standards as outlined in the DOD AI Strategy, while embracing the U.S. military’s strong history of applying rigorous testing and fielding standards for technology innovations.”

These principles also abide by the recent AI regulatory guidelines released by the White House of Office and Science Technology Policy (OSTP).

You can read more about the principles here: https://www.defense.gov/Explore/News/Article/Article/2094085/dod-adopts-5-principles-of-artificial-intelligence-ethics/.

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