An experimental autonomous ship developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Credit: John F. Williams/US Navy via Wikimedia Commons.

How Joe Biden can use confidence-building measures for military uses of AI

By Michael C. Horowitz, Lauren Kahn, January 12, 2021

Perhaps no technology holds global imagination concerning the future of military power more than artificial intelligence (AI), in both positive and negative ways. Anticipating the impact of AI systems on the security environment, in 2018, the United States Department of Defense launched the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC). The center is one of several US military initiatives designed “to seize upon the transformative potential of artificial intelligence technology” (DOD 2019) and assist the American military in preparing for future wars filled with autonomous systems and algorithms.

While it is still true that most military uses of AI are closer to concept than reality, many countries, including Russia and China–competitors seeking to challenge US conventional military superiority–are seeking to incorporate ever-greater levels of autonomy into their military operations.


Chinese State Council. 2017. China’s New Generation of Artificial Intelligence Development Plan, Translated by, F. Sapio, W. Chen, and L. Adrian. Foundation for Law & International Affairs.

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