Home Editorial MoD outlines its approach to AI for national defence

MoD outlines its approach to AI for national defence

by Geny Caloisi
The Ministry of Defence has highlighted the potential benefits and shortcomings of Artificial Technology. Defence understands Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a family of general-purpose technologies that can enable machines to perform tasks typically requiring human or biological intelligence. The Defence AI Strategy 2022 describes strategic opportunities and challenges presented by the emergence of AI.

Defence recognises that AI presents risks and concerns about its possible impact on humans. These risks and considerations are set to be addressed by focusing on outcomes, delivered through clear frameworks and processes, and guided by the conviction that AI can be a powerful force for good.

The paper described plans to exploit AI comprehensively, accelerating AI-enabled capabilities into service to make Defence significantly more efficient and effective. However, it emphasises that Defence will not adopt AI for its own sake and will empower teams developing and delivering concepts, technologies, and solutions to explore ambitious ideas and use cases.

The MoD wants to harness creativity and innovation across Defence and the private sector. This includes the necessary problem-solving approaches to bring use-cases to life appropriately. Since risks and challenges may exist in respect of any part of the ‘system of systems’ across the entire lifecycle of the capability, solutions may similarly be found across the whole ‘system of systems’ and lifecycle.

The report stated that it is not necessarily the ‘what’ the capability is designed to do, but ‘how’ it does it and how it can be ensured that AI is used effectively and appropriately within it.

Across the broad range of responsibilities that the MOD fulfills to deliver our national security, UK Defence is committed to adopting AI responsibly and ethically to deter and defend, save lives, reduce harm and shape the global development of AI in line with UK values.

AI systems must be used with human implications in mind. Using specific systems where negative human impacts outweigh the benefits may be unethical.

The MoD said it is committed to exploring ambitious options for incorporating AI into weapon systems. Still, it believes that Human-Machine Teaming delivers the best outcomes regarding overall effectiveness, optimal use of resources, the practicalities of integration, and the ease with which we can address issues arising.

Defence personnel must have a context-specific understanding of AI systems they operate and work alongside and be suitably trained and competent to use or understand these tools. Mechanisms to interpret and understand systems must be a crucial part of system design.

The MOD is committed to developing AI-enabled systems that build trust, support the Defence Purpose, and uphold human rights and democratic values.

Read the full report here

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