Experts meet to discuss ethical military use of AI

Monday, 05 August, 2019

Experts meet to discuss ethical military use of AI

International experts gathered in Canberra last week to develop and analyse ethical principles for military use of artificial intelligence (AI)-based weapons systems, business management and decision support tools.

The Ethical AI for Defence workshop was led by Defence Science and Technology Group, Plan Jericho and the Trusted Autonomous Systems Defence Cooperative Research Centre, and included representatives from the Australian Defence Force, Centre for Defence Leadership and Ethics, industry and institutes from Australia and abroad.

Australia’s Department of Defence Chief Defence Scientist, Professor Tanya Monro, said the workshop was about “developing relevant ethical principles to facilitate communication between software engineers, integrators and operators during the development and operation of military AI systems”.

“The objective of the workshop was to bring together the best national and international people in the field, work through incredibly complex moral issues and create a roadmap for ethical AI into the future,” Monro said.

Royal Australian Air Force Head of Air Force Capability, Air Vice-Marshal Cath Roberts, added that to succeed in the future, Defence needed to invest in and capitalise on advances in AI, predictive analytics, natural language processing and heuristics.

“We must be sure that these technologies are trusted, ethical and transparent, before we bring them into service,” Roberts said.

“Our focus is on how to ensure appropriate action and moral responsibility for decisions, and continuously evaluating which decisions can be made by machines and which must be made by humans.”

The principles from this workshop will support the development of military leadership and ethics research, and doctrine development, in the Centre for Defence Leadership and Ethics and across Defence.

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