Jan 2020 – Dec 2023
Warring with Machines aims to provide an ethical framework for designing and implementing Artificial Intelligence (AI) in military technologies.
The project's primary research focus is on the people – military personnel throughout the command structure – who serve in combat settings with AI-enabled machines. In a battlespace where machine autonomy is increasingly assuming functions once restricted to human beings, maintaining clear lines of human responsibility is of paramount importance. Clarifying this issue should improve ethical instruction within military training and educational institutions, as well as change how AI developers design their technologies. In turn, this will render ethical guidelines better tailored to the battlefield scenarios military personnel will confront in the future.
The project aims in three settings to yield moral guidelines for AI technology use: kinetic (physical) combat operations, cyber operations, and strategic planning. These guidelines will serve as conceptual pillars for forming policies that help guide the design and use of AI-related weapon systems.
Our theoretical framework broadly aligns with virtue ethics, focused on inward capabilities – virtues – that empower us to act responsibly amid the challenges of personal and professional life. Warring with Machines will probe how we can enhance the moral agency of combatants as algorithms become more prevalent in warfare.
The project is funded by a four year grant from the Research Council of Norway (SAMKUL programme), and involves collaboration between leading national and international research institutions, inter alia the Center for Philosophy and the Sciences at the University of Oslo, the Center for Artificial Intelligence Research at the University of Agder, the Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership at the US Naval Academy, the Technology Ethics Center at the University of Notre Dame, and the Munich Center for Neurosciences – Brain & Mind at Ludwig Maximillian University.
The NORM project ('Shaping the Digital World Order: Norms and Agency along the Digital Silk Road in Southeast Asia') was officially launched with a kick-off meeting on 4 May.
PRIO researchers Greg Reichberg and Henrik Syse spoke last week at the United States Naval Academy's annual McCain Conference on military ethics.
The Warring with Machines Project co-organized a conference with PRIO Global Fellow Kaushik Roy of Jadavpur University in Kolkata. The conference was titled "AI and the Transformation of Warfare: Perspectives from South Asia and Beyond."
PRIO Research Professor Gregory M. Reichberg has co-edited a new volume titled "Robotics, AI, and Humanity: Science, Ethics, and Policy".
Congratulations to Greg Reichberg on funding from the SAMKUL call of the Research Council of Norway for a four-year project: Warring with Machines: Military Applications of Artificial Intelligence and the Relevance of Virtue Ethics. The PRIO team also consists of Henrik Syse and Mareile Kaufmann, and in addition a full-time PhD researcher.