The use of lethal robots for law enforcement has turned from a science fiction concept to news snippets, thanks to recent high-profile debates in San Francisco and Oakland, Calif., as well as their actual use in Dallas. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 8-3 to grant police the ability to use ground-based robots for lethal force when “when risk of loss of life to members of the public or officers is imminent and officers cannot subdue the threat after using alternative force options or other de-escalation tactics.” Following immediate public outcry, the board reversed course a week later and unanimously voted to ban the lethal use of robots. Oakland underwent a less public but similar process, and in January the Dallas Police Department used a robot to end a standoff.
While recent events may have sparked a public outcry over the dangers of “killer robots,” we should not lose sight of the danger that poor processes create when deploying AI systems.
All of these events illustrate major pitfalls with the way that police currently use or plan to use lethal robots. Processes are rushed or nonexistent, conducted haphazardly, do not involve the public or civil society, and fail to create adequate oversight. These problems must be fixed in future processes that authorize artificial intelligence (AI) use in order to avoid controversy, collateral damage and even international destabilization.
The chief sin that a process can commit is to move too quickly. Decisions about how to use AI systems require careful deliberation and informed discussion, especially with something as high-stakes as the use of lethal force. A counter example here is the Department of Defense (DOD) Directive 3000.09, which covers the development and deployment of lethal autonomous systems. Because it lacks clarity for new technology and terminology, this decade-old policy is in the process of a lengthy, but deliberate, update.
Read the full article from the The Hill.
More from CNAS
Why the US, Japan and South Korea should take the quantum leap together
Beyond boosting business and driving innovation, quantum may also power the next generation of defense technologies....
By Sam Howell
The Key To Winning The Global AI Race
It’s essential to ensure that AI is shared beyond the leading labs to other firms, schools and even the government itself....
By Jordan Schneider & Matthew Mittelsteadt
'Tech war' is brewing between U.S. and China, says Palantir's Jacob Helberg
Jacob Helberg, Palantir senior policy advisor and CNAS adjunct fellow, joins 'Squawk Box' to discuss the implications of the 'tech war' between the U.S. and China, the result ...
By Jacob Helberg
The Russians Are Getting Better
The West will need to recalibrate its expectations to match reality, which is that this is a war of attrition....
By Margarita "Rita" Konaev & Owen J. Daniels