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DOD Sees Ethics as Major Consideration in AI Development, Official Says

Artificial intelligence

DOD Sees Ethics as Major Consideration in AI Development, Official Says

Department of Defense officials want ethics to be a major consideration in the military's development of artificial intelligence, said Alka Patel, head of AI ethics policy at the DOD's Joint AI Center. 

Patel, a past Potomac Officers Club event speaker, said trustworthiness is important for the technology's enablement of autonomy, decision-making and system execution at fast speeds, Defense .gov reported.

In February 2020, the Pentagon's Defense Innovation Board laid out its principles for AI use in war, with emphasis on responsibility, equity and governability.

The principles state that DOD personnel must exercise appropriate judgment and responsibility when developing, deploying and using AI capabilities. Personnel must also take steps to minimize unintended bias in AI.

The DOD must design and engineer AI capabilities in a way that allows for the detection and mitigation of unintended consequences, including the ability to disengage or deactivate deployed systems that misbehave. 

Patel said the DOD currently plans to train and educate its personnel on ethical AI practices as it begins operationalizing the technology's applications across the services. 

The department will also work with its allies and partners to ensure they are on the same page regarding ethics' importance in interoperability, Patel said during the Defense One Genius Machines 2021 virtual summit.

Among such partners are the corporations helping the department in its AI efforts, Patel said. She said companies and their employees need assurance that their technologies will be used ethically. Technology companies themselves are also expected to build AI tools up to the DOD's ethical standards. 

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