Artificial Intelligence on the Battlefield: Lawmakers weigh the risks and benefits of military AI

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It’s not science fiction -- lawmakers on Capitol Hill are discussing how artificial intelligence can help on the battlefield. This week, one congressional committee weighed how the military can safely and effectively use AI.

When you think about artificial intelligence and the military -- your mind might wander to a scenario described by a few lawmakers.

“We might envision ai with future wars being fought by robots and such,” Rep. Pat Fallon (R) Texas, said.

Why send someone’s son or daughter into a war zone where they can be hurt or killed when a mission can be completed by machines? Experts told representatives artificial intelligence and national security go hand-in-hand.

“The country that is able to most rapidly and effectively integrate new technology into warfighting wins,” Alexandr Wang, CEO of Scale AI, said. “If we don’t win on AI, we risk ceding global influence, technological leadership and democracy to strategic adversaries like China.”

Congress is looking to people like Wang and Klon Kitchen, of the American Enterprise Institute, to answer questions that may be on the public’s mind, as well.

“What keeps you up at night about the military use of AI,” Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D) Michigan asked. “If China is investing three times and in some cases ten times that we are, what is the number 1 thing that you feel like you know, kind of worst case scenario?”

“The most acute challenge that we’re likely to encounter in the near term is a simply more effective and efficient enemy,” Kitchen responded.

Much of this week’s conversation revolves around how the Chinese military is already spending money on AI.

“It’s for autonomous drone swarms, whether that be aerial, subsurface or ground, they’re investing across all fronts,” Wang described. “They’re investing into adaptive radar systems, which jam and blind U.S. censors and information networks.  So, they’re investing across the whole spectrum.”

Those in the industry said this isn’t only about war fighting. They believe it’s also about your tax dollars -- the technology can help build a more efficient force that wastes fewer resources.