The world is seeing a growing number of countries building and implementing the use of AI, or artificial intelligence, for military purposes. Such capabilities, as with all technologies, must be used ethically and responsibly. That is why the United States unveiled the Political Declaration on Responsible Military Use of Artificial Intelligence and Autonomy at the Summit on Responsible Artificial Intelligence in the Military (REAIM) domain in February 2023.
The purpose of this Declaration is to build an “international consensus around how militaries can responsibly incorporate AI and autonomy into their operations.” The Declaration also covers how States should develop, deploy, and use this technology to promote respect for international law, security, and stability.
The guidelines laid out by the Declaration aim to ensure that military AI capabilities, throughout their lifecycles, are not only fully accountable within a responsible human chain of command but also are used in a manner consistent with states’ obligations under international humanitarian law. The Declaration also stresses the importance of an approach that includes “careful consideration of risks and benefits.” Minimizing unintended bias and accidents is also a priority.
The Declaration also describes various safeguards for the development and use of military AI systems. These range from defining an auditable and explicit use for every system to implementing the ability to deactivate any deployed systems that do demonstrate unintended behavior.
The Declaration also discusses the importance of human involvement. These practices include training personnel who use or approve AI use on capabilities and limitations, as well as making sure high-ranking officials oversee the development and deployment of AI capabilities with high-consequence applications, such as weapon systems. The Declaration also specifies that states should continue to maintain human control and involvement for all actions critical to informing and executing decisions concerning nuclear weapons employment.
The United States recognizes that the military use of emerging technologies, including AI, must be a shared challenge. Therefore, the United States is committed to working with like-minded stakeholders to build support for this Declaration and develop a strong international norm for responsible AI use.