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A race to militarize artificial intelligence is gearing up. Two years ago, the US Congress created the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI). This March, it recommended that the United States must accelerate artificial-intelligence (AI) technologies to preserve national security and remain competitive with China and Russia.

This will undermine the United States’ ability to lead emerging global norms on AI. In April, the European Commission published the first international legal framework for making AI secure and ethical; in January, the European Parliament issued guidelines stating that military AI should not replace human decisions and oversight. By contrast, the NSCAI recommendations advocate “the integration of AI-enabled technologies into every facet of war-fighting”.

Enhancing AI war-fighting capacity will decrease security in a world where the biggest threats are instability — political, social, economic and planetary. The NSCAI should heed the research community. Some 4,500 AI and robotics researchers have declared that AI should not make the decision to take a human life — aligning with the European Parliament guidelines and the European Union regulation.


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