Coding Just War Theory: Artificial Intelligence in Warfare
by Dana Gingrich
Leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) to improve decision making is not a new concept. The proliferation of AI, however, makes this period in history a strategic inflection point. Tomorrow’s wars will be fought and won using AI. The United States military must understand this technology and utilize AI to retain the advantage. Today’s leaders will be responsible for integrating AI within the current battlefield and must therefore consider the impacts of employing AI within the principles of Just War Theory.
The U.S. military is at the threshold of another frontier to determine how to synchronize multiple domains—including space, cyber, information, and others—to avoid decisive conflict or to defeat potential threats. AI has demonstrated the ability to develop superior strategies never considered by humans; AI should inform our strategic options. There are ethical implications, though, on how AI determines optimum strategies. Humans currently define the variables and parameters for the machine and the machine optimizes based on a given criteria. The computer’s objectivity could eventually counter the accepted principles of jus en bello, principles for waging war, which would require strategists to constrain the power of AI.
Our adversaries are constantly looking for opportunities to expose and exploit our critical vulnerabilities. What if our adversaries are willing to code different rules? Our adversary’s AI could develop strategies that put the United States in an untenable position. In such a situation, if the U.S. does not have the ability to fight and win, then we must consider additional ethical implications for jus ad bellum, principles for going to war. The U.S. must find a new balance between upholding Just War Theory and leveraging the full power of artificial intelligence to fight and win in this new era of warfare…
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| About the Author:
Major Dana Gingrich currently serves in the 75th Ranger Regiment, U.S. Army Special Operations Command. He earned an M.B.A. from Stanford Graduate School of Business and recently graduated as the Gen. George C. Marshall Distinguished Honor Graduate from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff Officers Course.