April 11, 2018

Human judgment and lethal decision-making in war

By Paul Scharre

For the fifth year in a row, government delegates meet at the United Nationsin Geneva to discuss autonomous weapons. Meanwhile, the technology that enables greater autonomy in weapons races forward. The speed of technological change is a major hurdle in tackling the challenges of autonomous weapons. While advocates for a ban argue that the international community must come together before it is too late, opponents of a ban can point to technological progress to argue that someday machines might outperform humans in warfare.

The pace of change presents more than just political hurdles, though; it is a major problem for any regulation or ban that would be based on the state of technology today. Even the most thoughtful regulations or prohibitions will not be able to foresee all of the ways that autonomous weapons could evolve over time. An alternative approach would be to focus on the unchanging element in war: the human. If we had all the technology in the world, what role would we want humans to play in war, and why? What decisions in war require uniquely human judgment, not because machines cannot make them, but because they shouldn’t?

Read the full article at The International Committee of the Red Cross

  • Commentary
    • War on the Rocks
    • January 14, 2020
    The AI Literacy Gap Hobbling American Officialdom

    Rarely is there as much agreement about the importance of an emerging technology as exists today about artificial intelligence (AI). Rightly or wrongly, a 2019 survey of 1,000...

    By Michael Horowitz & Lauren Kahn

  • Video
    • December 30, 2019
    Amazon, Ring hit with $5 million class action lawsuit

    Center for a New American Security fellow Kara Frederick gives tips on how to protect smart home devices from hackers. Watch the full conversation on Fox News....

    By Kara Frederick

  • Commentary
    • Foreign Policy
    • December 24, 2019
    The United States Needs a Strategy for Artificial Intelligence

    In the coming years, artificial intelligence will dramatically affect every aspect of human life. AI—the technologies that simulate intelligent behavior in machines—will chang...

    By Martijn Rasser

  • Commentary
    • Breaking Defense
    • December 23, 2019
    America Desperately Needs AI Talent, Immigrants Included

    The United States is engaged in a global technology competition in artificial intelligence. But while the US government has shown commitment to developing AI systems that will...

    By Megan Lamberth

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia