Image credit: U.S. Air Force

May 01, 2023

Arms Control for Artificial Intelligence

By Paul Scharre and Megan Lamberth

Militaries worldwide are working on how best to develop, integrate, and use AI in their weapons systems. While many of these systems are yet to be realized, breakthroughs in AI could have a significant impact on how militaries operate over time. Concern over military AI systems have led some activists to call for prohibitions or regulations on some AI-enabled weapons systems.

The best illustration of the dynamics of the desirability of arms control is the international community’s response to nuclear weapons versus chemical weapons.

Yet, AI has several characteristics that make it difficult to control. As a general-purpose enabling technology, AI is like electricity or the internal combustion engine and has countless nonmilitary or defense applications. It differs from some military technologies because it is predominantly developed in the civilian sector by engineers in private industry or in research organizations. While the widespread availability of AI makes a complete ban on all military applications of AI unlikely, there may be an opportunity for the international community to work together to regulate or prohibit certain uses of military AI.

Read the full article from the Texas National Security Review.

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