AI News, International Security and Lethal Autonomous Weapons artificial intelligence

State of AI: Artificial Intelligence, the Military and Increasingly Autonomous Weapons

As artificial intelligence works its way into industries like healthcare and finance, governments around the world are increasingly investing in another of its applications: autonomous weapons systems. Many are already developing programs and technologies that they hope will give them an edge over their adversaries, creating mounting pressure for others to follow suite.

The UK believes that an “autonomous system is capable of understanding higher level intent and direction.” It suggested that autonomy “confers significant advantages and has existed in weapons systems for decades” and that “evolving human/machine interfaces will allow us to carry out military functions with greater precision and efficiency,” though it added that “the application of lethal force must be directed by a human, and that a human will always be accountable for the decision.” The UK stated that “the current lack of consensus on key themes counts against any legal prohibition,” and that it “would not have any practical

France did propose a political declaration that would reaffirm fundamental principles and “would underline the need to maintain human control over the ultimate decision of the use of lethal force.” In 2018, Israel stated that the “development of rigid standards or imposing prohibitions to something that is so speculative at this early stage, would be imprudent and may yield an uninformed, misguided result.” Israel underlined that “[w]e should also be aware of the military and humanitarian advantages.” In 2015, South Korea stated that “the discussions on LAWS should not be carried out in a way that can hamper research and development of robotic technology for civilian use,” but that it is “wary of fully autonomous weapons systems that remove meaningful human control from the operation loop, due to the risk of malfunctioning, potential accountability gap and ethical concerns.”

The State of AI

report 'The State of AI: Artificial Intelligence, the Military and Increasingly Autonomous Weapons' shows that an Artificial Intelligence (AI) arms race is in its infancy and warns of potentially catastrophic results for humanity if states do not ensure human control over emerging weapons technology.

The report outlines the status of AI in military projects of seven countries: United States, China, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, Israel and South Korea. PAX calls for states to agree to international rules banning lethal autonomous weapons and for the global private sector to agree not to work on the development of these weapons.

Report: Kill the idea of “killer robots” before they kill us

The global competition to develop fully autonomous weapons systems guided by artificial intelligence risks developing into a full-blown arms race, according to a new report from a Dutch peace group.

No one yet knows just how fully autonomous lethal weapons used by opposing militaries, with algorithms making life-or-death decisions, will interact in real-world situations. Pax is calling on the international community to “define clear boundaries in new international law to prevent the development of killer robots.” A

As Quartz reported in February, the US Army is developing an AI-powered tank that “will use artificial intelligence and machine learning to give ground-combat vehicles autonomous target capabilities.” This will allow weapons to “acquire, identify, and engage targets at least 3x faster than the current manual process.” The Advanced Targeting and Lethality Automated System (ATLAS), which will not replace soldiers with machines but seeks to augment their abilities, is primarily designed to increase the amount of response time tank gunners get in combat, Paul Scharre, director of the Technology and National Security Program at the Center for a New American Security, a bipartisan think tank in Washington, DC, told Quartz.

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) recently introduced the Mini Harpy “loitering munition,” a drone that hovers over a combat zone, autonomously detects targets and then “locks in on the threat and attacks it for a quick, lethal closure.” The Russian Ministry of Defense in 2018 opened a military-tech incubator of sorts called the Era technopolis, focused solely on the “creation of military artificial intelligence systems and supporting technologies.” And China is already two years into its “Three-Year Action Plan for Promoting Development of a New Generation Artificial Intelligence Industry.” President Xi Jinping has said he believes AI will be a crucial part of the country’s military prowess moving forward.

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