With the rise of robotics and artificial intelligence in worldwide militaries, a number of nations have decided to address AI warfare. Last week, the world’s first global REAIM Summit (Responsible Artificial Intelligence in the Military Domain) was held.
Featuring over 60 nations, including China, the summit discussed the expansion of artificial intelligence in military conflicts. All present parties, except Israel, signed a call to action to address AI warfare tools.
The first global REAIM Summit (via TechSpot) decided to not invite Russia to the discussion. Furthermore, Ukraine was invited but did not end up attending the peace talks. Those who did attended were represented by government officials; numerous civil organisations were also present.
REAIM’s target is to make sure any country using artificial intelligence in weapons will be governed by the same restrictions. While adding rules to warfare doesn’t always work — for example, Russia has deployed illegal butterfly mines in its attack on Ukraine — it’s useful to have restrictions in place early on.
“We invite all states to join us in implementing international norms, as it pertains to military development and use of AI" announced US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control Bonnie Jenkins. "We want to emphasize that we are open to engagement with any country that is interested in joining us."
At the summit on AI warfare, Chinese spokesperson Jian Tan explained that the summit should strive to keep AI military technology equal between nations. The representative explained that attending nations should “oppose seeking absolute military advantage and hegemony through AI".
Artificial intelligence and robotics in military situations have the potential to save countless lives, but there’s also the potential to destroy many more. Devices such as robot dogs could be used to survey dangerous locations to save trapped civilians. However, AI-powered remote controlled weaponry — like Israel’s AI sniper rifle — could become terrifying assassination weapons. That’s without mentioning robot dogs with RPGs and unmanned missile-loaded tanks.
The United Nations has already attempted to combat the spread of robotics and AI in military technology. However, the move to regulate this tech was blocked by both the United States and Russia, both of whom are massively invested in the evolving technology.
For example, the American military has already started incorporating robots into its troops. Recently, it was revealed that US military robots have to engage in common sense training prior to deployment. The US military is also investing billions into AR headsets designed by Microsoft; soldiers claimed during test that these HoloLens headsets will get them killed in the field.
At this point, AI warfare is an inevitability of military advancement. However, with regulations imposed by worldwide government bodies, it may at least be restricted in some way.