A February 2022 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office identified 685 Department of Defense AI projects (as of April 2021), many of which are geared towards war-fighting operations and weapons systems. The report – ‘Artificial Intelligence: Status of developing and acquiring capabilities for weapon systems’ – found that ‘the majority of AI activities supporting DOD’s warfighting mission are in research and development, with a focus on developing autonomy for uncrewed systems, recognizing targets, and providing recommendations to commanders on the battlefield.’
The report states that the Department of Defense identified a variety of potential AI uses in war-fighting operations, including ‘analyzing intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance sources; fusing data to provide a common operating picture on the battlefield; supporting semiautonomous and autonomous vehicles; and operating lethal autonomous weapon systems.’ Further, an official from the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment told the GAO that a weapons platform ‘should be built with a variety of sensors to collect data that can be used to train and support future AI capabilities.’
The U.S. Department of Defense requested a $773 billion budget for 2023, with $130.1 billion of that for research, development and testing, including ‘heavy investments‘ in artificial intelligence.
The United States does not support the negotiation of new international law to regulate the development and use of autonomous weapons systems.
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