The U.S. government this week unveiled a new framework for the military use of artificial intelligence it hopes will be adopted by other countries as AI technology becomes more advanced.
The State Department put out its “Political Declaration on Responsible Military Use of Artificial Intelligence and Autonomy,” at a conference in the Netherlands that took place on Wednesday and Thursday.
“The aim of the Declaration is to build international consensus around how militaries can responsibly incorporate AI and autonomy into their operations, and to help guide states’ development, deployment, and use of this technology for defense purposes to ensure it promotes respect for international law, security, and stability,” the office of the State Department spokesperson said.
The guidelines are not legally binding, but the U.S. said it hopes that other nations will adopt similar practices. The declaration put out by the U.S. laid a number of recommendations including keeping human control over decisions regarding nuclear weapons, having senior officials overseas weapons systems that use AI, ensuring that military AI tech has clear documentation, that AI tech has a clear purpose, and putting safeguards on AI tech to avoid major disaster if the technology fails.
The guidelines also ask that measures are put in place to avoid “unintended bias in military AI capabilities,” though it is unclear what kind of bias is being referenced.
The State Department hopes that all nations, not just key U.S. allies, will voice support for the guidelines.
“We would like to expand that to go out to a much broader set of countries and begin getting international buy-in, not just a NATO buy-in, but in Asia, buy-in from countries in Latin America,” a State Department official told Defense One. “We’re looking for countries around the world to start discussing this … so they understand the implications of the development and military use of AI … Many of them will think ‘Oh this is just a great power competition issue,’ when really there are implications for the entire international community.”
The guidelines come as U.S. officials have expressed concern about the use and development of AI by China and Russia. Russia was excluded from the conference while the Chinese ambassador to the Netherlands was present.
“We think that we have an opportunity to get ahead in a way and establish strong norms of responsible behavior now,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said. “Neither China nor Russia have stated publicly what procedures they’re implementing to ensure that their military AI systems operate safely responsibly and as intended.”
According to the Netherlands, about 2,000 people from 100 countries were at the conference, with many governmental representatives present.