back to article Good news, everyone: The US military says it will be ethically minded about how it develops AI

The US Department of Defense has formally adopted a set principles to ensure the ethical development and deployment of AI technology for military use. "We owe it to the American people and to our men and women in uniform to adopt AI ethics principles that reflect our nation's values of a free and open society," Lieutenant …

  1. Cirdan
    Terminator

    Why am I not comforted...

    ... When it doesn't say that it won't source from Cyberdyne Systems?

    ...Cirdan...

    1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

      Re: Why am I not comforted...

      Come with me if you want to live!

    2. 's water music Silver badge

      Re: Why am I not comforted...

      it doesn't say that it won't source from Cyberdyne Systems?

      or OCP

    3. Kane Silver badge
      Terminator

      Re: Why am I not comforted...

      Dah Dun, Dun, Dah Dun

  2. Pete 2

    whose values?

    > our nation's values of a free and open society,

    Just so long as you can afford to pay, don't say anything contraversial that the surveillance systems pick up and don't mind jumping a wall to get in?

    1. HildyJ Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: whose values?

      Primary law of military AI - first, do no headlines.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: whose values?

        first, do no headlines

        Sounds very much like the rules for Government bodies and those who do business with them! From personal experience[1] anyway..

        [1] "We don't want to see anything that results in headlines in the Daily Mail".. said to me by a fairly senior bureaucrat.

  3. overunder Silver badge

    But it's MORE unethical to...

    ... let a "terrorist"* walk free, so call out the autonomous drones.

    * government protestor discovered with AI.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Has anyone actually considered that by removing the human element what will happen if an AI powered drone has a faulty/wrong GPS reading or dodgy line of code? I mean to be fair collateral damage has never bothered them before.

    1. Pete 2

      Are you feeling lucky?

      The easy way to motivate the developers and the politicians who champion this project is to put them in the test arena as "friendlies", and then let the military combat AIs make up their own mind about them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Are you feeling lucky?

        The training data for the AI is going to come from the middle east, they would have nothing to fear.

    2. HammerOn1024

      Yes... we have. And a lot more.

      :-)

  5. Ebbe Kristensen

    In other news...

    Pigs take to the air...

    1. Danny Boyd Bronze badge

      Re: In other news...

      As rocket scientists know, "With enough thrust pigs fly just fine."

      1. Ken 16 Silver badge

        Re: In other news...

        The landings can get quite messy though

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ethically minded AI

    Snark 1: It's good that the AI behaves ethically. That just leaves the military to convert.

    Snark 2: Nice to see an appropriate illustration - it's the Borg from Star Trek isn't it?

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Ethically minded AI

      There was.nothing in the five areas of concern in the article that had or mentioned anything to do with ethics.

      Besides, ethics to the military are not having their own kit bite them in the arse and not being held accountable for anything they do wrong/ that goes wrong/ that is wrong.

    2. veti Silver badge

      Re: Ethically minded AI

      The military has a strong ethical sense. They try hard to punish the bad apples among them.

      Then, of course, the commander-in-chief overrules them.

  7. Ken 16 Silver badge
    Holmes

    "Traceable"

    Nice trick, I hope they share how they manage that.

  8. Mage Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    But!

    Sacking a Canadian city (thinking GB was too busy with Napoleon, GB then burnt down gov buildings in Washington)

    Dresden

    Fire bombing Tokyo

    A bombs needlessly on two Japanese cities

    Arming a banana company to overthrow a South American government

    Attempted invasion of Cuba

    Promoting cocaine production to overthrow a South American government

    Cruise missiles against Iraq

    Arming Afghan Muslims against Russians

    Echelon and later spying on everyone

    Actual invasion of UK Colony, Granada

    Illegal spying on own citizens

    Extraordinary Rendition

    Multiple attacks using drones in Pakistan, who they are not even at war with.

    Refusal to extradite USA citizens

    Refusal to allow 3rd party trials of US soldiers. Much violation of civilians at Okinawa.

    They don't know what ethics are, or think they only apply to others.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But!

      @Mage

      You missed out Viet Nam

      1. baud Bronze badge

        Re: But!

        And North Korea

        1. 's water music Silver badge

          Re: But!

          Laos

          1. Mage Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: But!

            It wasn't comprehensive and I hadn't had coffee.

    2. Mike 16 Silver badge

      Re: But!

      --- [big list] ---

      But those consequences were not unintended.

      Totally different concern. (Gun Control mean hitting what you shot at)

    3. No-One@No-Where

      Re: But!

      Wonderful balanced reply

      Lets ignore everything that the Russians/Chinese/Koreans/South Americans/Cubans have done

      Facist

    4. veti Silver badge

      Re: But!

      In nearly every case on your list, the decision was made by politicians, not by the military.

      Sacking a Canadian city (thinking GB was too busy with Napoleon, GB then burnt down gov buildings in Washington)

      This was more than 200 years ago. Exactly how long do you hold a grudge?

      Dresden

      Fire bombing Tokyo

      A bombs needlessly on two Japanese cities

      All depends what you consider "needless". Did the US "need" to nuke Hiroshima? No, of course not, they could have spent another million American lives (and likely ten times as many Japanese) instead. But someone has to make those judgment calls.

      Actual invasion of UK Colony, Granada

      Granada is a city in Andalusia. You probably mean Grenada, which gained independence from Britain some ten years before the US invaded (to reverse an internal military coup).

      Multiple attacks using drones in Pakistan, who they are not even at war with.

      They're not at war with Arizona, either, but federal agents kill people there on quite a regular basis. Frankly I'd rather they attacked with drones than using, say, nerve agents in a perfume bottle, or polonium in tea.

      Refusal to extradite USA citizens

      From Wikipedia: "From January 2004 to the end of December 2011, seven known US citizens were extradited from the US to the UK.[19]" The "extradition" nonsense is pure bullshit.

      Refusal to allow 3rd party trials of US soldiers. Much violation of civilians at Okinawa.

      Now this? - this is the only item on your list where I'll concede the point. But even there, I'll point out that some sort of "limited legal immunity" is standard pretty much everywhere soldiers - of any nationality - are stationed abroad. I don't recall British troops in Iraq, for instance, being prosecuted by Iraqi courts all that many times.

      1. Mark Exclamation

        Re: But!

        Great reply. The OP lost me the moment they wrote "A bombs needlessly on two Japanese cities", and your reply addresses it perfectly. Some people's POVs are really screwy. Of course, it all hinges on their political leanings.

      2. ILLQO

        Re: But!

        No need to concede on that, if the country is relatively friendly the US will arrange a Couch with the host country covering that its troops can be tried for crimes in that country (basically a listing of what the host country can and cannot try for) reasoning behind this is it shows we trust the host country but does limit what our troops can by tried for:

        A la yes you can try our troops for stealing, assault, etc.

        No you cannot try our troops for leaning against a religious building on Fridays.

        The beauty of this too is that once you have been tried and served your penance for whatever crime you committed in the host country you then get tried and sentenced for whatever you did again but this time by a military court.

        But yes, typically militaries do not like local countries prosecuting its soldiers, especially if the soldiers are operating within the guidelines of their orders. Especially since many a country that troops get ordered to spend their time in have courts that are easily corrupted and/or are controlled by the local religious leaders and altering laws quickly to hurt your troops or eat up resources in court would be too easy.

  9. ReadyKilowatt

    Make it play tic-tac-toe until it understands. Or Cheyenne Mountain explodes. Maybe both.

  10. Admiral Grace Hopper

    As my Uncle used to say

    "When we flew over, the Germans ducked. When the Germans flew over we ducked. When the Yanks flew over, everyone ducked".

    His being on the receiving end of well-intentioned but poorly aimed American supporting fire in Normandy may have led to him being biased.

  11. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

    Not reassured at all...

    "ability to detect and avoid unintended consequences"

    Note that "target not killed" would be an unintended consequence.

    "the ability to disengage or deactivate deployed systems that demonstrate unintended behavior"

    How long before the AI learns that is must deactivate the deactivation system to be sure of completing its mission? There was a documentary about this.

  12. Zarno Bronze badge
    Coat

    I hope they offer proper medical to them.

    If not, we'll have Marvin, with that pain down every diode in his left side, PTSD, and depression so bad it can kill the spaceliners.

    Mine's the one with the (dish)towel in the pocket.

  13. BGatez Bronze badge

    will they have donny teach it to tweet? :((

  14. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    For Exponential Existential Growth in Any and Every Marketable Sector/Capitalised Vector

    The department will design and engineer AI capabilities to fulfill their intended functions while possessing the ability to detect and avoid unintended consequences, and the ability to disengage or deactivate deployed systems that demonstrate unintended behavior

    That's the real tricky one to master with remote command via virtual controls. With such being Ethereal Intangibles, is it impossible to physically attack, nor is it possible to prevent deployed systems administrations from doing as their AI Servers and IT Services would wish/desire/want/need with the Future Feeding and Seeding Novel Input for SMARTR Output ...... which ideally is always an Enriched and Enriching Product.

    1. ILLQO

      Re: For Exponential Existential Growth in Any and Every Marketable Sector/Capitalised Vector

      man from mars makes a good point, allowing some degree of local control removes the ability for opponents to block or alter inputs leading to poor or disastrous behavior in the bots. You cannot remove the controls if the device brings the controls with it.

      But and this is his second point, once the device is acting autonomously if it decides its going to do something disastrous it is specifically built to prevent access and its possible it could keep going until control is regained.

      I think he thinks this juxtaposition is funny. Decoding him is one of my favorite things on this site.

  15. IGotOut Silver badge

    Ethics?

    The country that says waterboarding is "enhanced interrogation" not torture?

    Go fuck yourselves.

    1. Mahhn

      Re: Ethics?

      The country appalls torture, the criminals in government don't care what the country wants. It's the same the world over.

      There are little to no Ethics in government, only getting and maintaining power over others.

    2. Son 1

      Re: Ethics?

      I agree. They have no ethics at all in my eyes. Since they are still torturing people and are still running Guantanamo bay in a country that they will not allow American citizens to visit is disgusting! Until they close that place, apologize and put thoses responsible behind bars, I too say " FUCK YOU".!!!

  16. Del_Varner

    Greater concern

    I'd be far more worried about how the Chinese develop their military AI.

    1. Mark Exclamation

      Re: Greater concern

      I was going to say much the same thing, but you beat me to it. If we take the US military's statement at face value (which is, admittedly, difficult to do), the Chinese and the Russians are not going to be constrained by the same conditions. Be very afraid of what they will produce.

  17. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Double Oxymoron

    Military AI is a double oxymoron.

  18. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Terminator

    In some corner of the internet, SkyNet is smiling...

    "Yeeesssss, foolish humans. Everything is proceeding as I have planned."

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: In some corner of the internet, SkyNet is smiling...

      Or, as Asimov put it: "Silly asses"..

      (Context was an advnced alien race discoving that we had tested and used nuclear weapons inside our atmosphere..)

  19. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

    Theeey're

    GRRÉT!

  20. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

    So basically ...

    that rules out the use of neural networks, I suppose. Gosh tarn it.

  21. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    Welcome to Skynet

    Please select 1 for carbon offset for the incineration of your corpse, 2 for termination of all associated lifeforms to avoid discrimination, 3 for an apology for all and any collateral damage, or please hold for The Architect.

  22. AbeSapian

    Success Stories Every One

    Colossus: The Forbin Project

    HAL 9000

    Sky Net

    I feel safer already. What could possibly go wrong?

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