US Launches Initiative to Promote Responsible Military Use of AI | | | | Turtles AI

US Launches Initiative to Promote Responsible Military Use of AI
  The United States launched a new initiative in The Hague, Netherlands on Thursday that promotes international cooperation on the responsible use of artificial intelligence (AI) and autonomous weapons by militaries. This effort seeks to impose order on an emerging technology that has the potential to change the way war is waged. Bonnie Jenkins, the State Department’s undersecretary for weapons control and international security, said, “As a rapidly changing technology, we have an obligation to create strong norms of responsible behavior concerning military uses of AI and in a way that keeps in mind that applications of AI by militaries will undoubtedly change in the coming years.” She introduced the U.S. political declaration, which includes non-legally binding guidelines outlining best practices for responsible military use of AI. According to Jenkins, this document “can be a focal point for international cooperation.” The Hague conference took on additional urgency due to advances in drone technology amid Russia’s war in Ukraine, which has accelerated a trend that could soon bring the world’s first fully autonomous fighting robots to the battlefield. The U.S. declaration contains 12 points, including that military uses of AI are consistent with international law and that states “maintain human control and involvement for all actions critical to informing and executing sovereign decisions concerning nuclear weapons employment.” Zachary Kallenborn, a George Mason University weapons innovation analyst who attended the conference, said that the U.S. move to take its approach to the international stage “recognizes that there are these concerns about autonomous weapons. That is significant in and of itself.” Kallenborn added that it was also important that Washington included a call for human control over nuclear weapons “because when it comes to autonomous weapons risk, I think that is easily the highest risk you possibly have.” Underscoring the sense of international urgency around AI and autonomous weapons, 60 nations, including the U.S. and China, issued a call for action at the Hague conference urging broad cooperation in the development and responsible military use of AI. Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra said, “We are in time to mitigate risks and to prevent AI from spiralling out of control, and we are in time to prevent AI from taking us to a place we simply don’t want to be.” The participating nations invited countries “to develop national frameworks, strategies, and principles on responsible AI in the military domain.” Military analysts and AI researchers say that the longer the nearly year-long war in Ukraine lasts, the more likely it becomes that drones will be used to identify, select and attack targets without human assistance. Ukraine’s digital transformation minister, Mykhailo Fedorov, recently told the Associated Press that fully autonomous killer drones are “a logical and inevitable next step” in weapons development, adding that Ukraine has been doing “a lot of R&D in this direction.” Ukraine already has semi-autonomous attack drones and counter-drone weapons endowed with AI. Russia also claims to possess AI weaponry, though the claims are unproven. However, there are no confirmed instances of a nation putting into combat robots that have killed entirely on their own. Russia was not invited to attend the conference in The Hague, but China’s ambassador to the Netherlands Tan Jian did attend and said Beijing has sent two papers to the United Nations on regulating military AI applications, saying the issue “concerns the common security and the well-being of mankind, which requires the united response of all countries.”