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Saturday, March 6th, 2021

Department of Defense adopts artificial intelligence principles

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The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) recently adopted ethical principles for the use of artificial intelligence (AI), which will apply to both combat and noncombat functions.

The principles were based on Defense Innovation Board recommendations. The board consulted with AI experts and incorporated their feedback and analysis into the recommendations.

“The adoption of AI ethical principles will enhance the department’s commitment to upholding the highest ethical standards as outlined in the DOD AI Strategy while embracing the U.S. military’s strong history of applying rigorous testing and fielding standards for technology innovations,” Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper said.

The principles cover five areas: DOD personnel will exercise judgment and care while developing, deploying, and using AI capabilities; DOD will take deliberate steps to minimize unintended bias in AI capabilities; personnel will have an appropriate understanding of the technology, development processes, and operational methods; AI capabilities will have explicit, well-defined uses and will be subject to testing; and DOD will design and engineer AI capabilities to fulfill their intended functions while possessing the ability to detect and avoid unintended consequences.

The principles will build on the U.S. military’s existing ethics framework by addressing the challenges, risks, and ethical ambiguities AI raises.