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Linking autonomy with artificial intelligence represents one of the most challenging topics for both civil and military affairs. Autonomous systems can operate independently of human activities, either through coded rules or through some combination of machine learning. However, not all autonomous systems include artificial intelligence. Those that include AI raise the thorniest of questions when it comes to operating in situations that could directly and physically impact human lives – such as driverless cars or use in weapon systems.
Recently there have been concerns that an autonomous drone may have hunted down a human in asymmetric warfare and anti-terrorist operations. At the same time autonomous drones can help find humans trapped in rubble after an earthquake or other natural disaster. Like all technologies, these tools can help improve our lives (fire warms homes, cooks food) or harm them. The primary question that we must now grapple with is how to renew the commitment of societies to ensuring that the human dimensions of autonomous systems employing AI uplift lives and provide “net positive good”.
Join us for what promises to be a robust and lively GeoTech Hour discussion where we consider what should be off-limits when it comes to autonomous systems paired with artificial intelligence, particularly when they have the ability to impact human lives. Does the world need an international limitation agreement with regards to AI-enabled autonomous systems that can exercise lethal force? Is such an agreement realistic and enforceable? Would AI-enabled autonomous systems that directly and physically defend humans be acceptable?
All these are challenging questions that we must consider as we look ahead towards the GeoTech Decade where advances in data and new technologies will have disproportionate impacts on geopolitics, competition, and global collaborations.
Joseph T. Bonivel Jr.,Ph.D
Nonresident Senior Fellow, GeoTech Center
Lord Tim Clement-Jones
Nonresident Fellow, GeoTech Center
Dana W. Hudson
President and CEO
c6 Strategies, LLC
Director, GeoTech Center
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