Pentagon formally adopts 5 ethical AI principles

February 24, 2020


facebook icon facebook icon

Today the Pentagon announces the formal adoption of five ethical AI principles that will guide its artificial intelligence strategy for national defense.

“Ethics remain at the forefront of everything the department does with AI technology” — DoD CIO Dana Deasy

Department of Defense (DoD) Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy, along with the DoD Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) Director Air Force Lt. Gen John N.T. Shanahan announced the formal adoption of the Pentagon’s AI ethics principles during a live event on Monday.

The DoD’s AI ethical principles that were adopted today are almost verbatim to what the Defense Innovation Board recommended last November.

  1. Responsible: DoD personnel will exercise appropriate levels of judgment and care, while remaining responsible for the development, deployment, and use of AI capabilities.
  2. Equitable: The Department will take deliberate steps to minimize unintended bias in AI capabilities.
  3. Traceable: The Department’s AI capabilities will be developed and deployed such that relevant personnel possess an appropriate understanding of the technology, development processes, and operational methods applicable to AI capabilities, including with transparent and auditable methodologies, data sources, and design procedure and documentation.
  4. Reliable: The Department’s AI capabilities will have explicit, well-defined uses, and the safety, security, and effectiveness of such capabilities will be subject to testing and assurance within those defined uses across their entire life-cycles.
  5. Governable: The Department will design and engineer AI capabilities to fulfill their intended functions while possessing the ability to detect and avoid unintended consequences, and the ability to disengage or deactivate deployed systems that demonstrate unintended behavior.

“Our teams will use these principles to guide the testing, fielding and scaling of AI-enabled capabilities across the DoD”

According to the Pentagon, “These principles will apply to both combat and non-combat functions and assist the US military in upholding legal, ethical and policy commitments in the field of AI.”

“Ethics remain at the forefront of everything the department does with AI technology, and our teams will use these principles to guide the testing, fielding and scaling of AI-enabled capabilities across the DOD,” said Deasy.

In July, 2018 the DoD formed the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center as a response to ongoing advances in artificial intelligence that “will change society and, ultimately, the character of war.”

The JAIC was established to enhance the ability for DoD components to execute new AI initiatives, experiment, and learn within a common framework.

Five Pillars of the DoD AI Strategy:

  • Deliver AI-enabled capabilities that address key missions
  • Scale AI’s impact across DoD through a common foundation that enables decentralized development and experimentation
  • Cultivate a leading AI workforce
  • Engage with commercial, academic, and international allies and partners
  • Lead in military ethics and AI safety

Last year Deasy spoke before lawmakers on the role of the JAIC and what it means to be successful in AI.

“You need two things in AI to be successful,” he said at the time, adding, “you need a maniacal focus on the here and now of operationalizing getting things up-and-running, […] but you also need an intense focus on where the future is going, where the science is going, and you need a place to take that science.”

DoD needs ‘more of a startup mentality when looking at tech like AI’: Defense CIO

Last year, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) revealed the first intergovernmental standard for AI policies, for which, 36 of the organization’s member countries signed, along with six non-member countries consisting of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru, and Romania.

The document, Recommendations of the Council on Artificial Intelligence aims to aid in the formation of a global policy ecosystem that will leverage AI benefits, while keeping an eye on its ethical side.

The Recommendation identified five complementary values-based principles to responsibly administer AI that can be trusted:

  1. AI should benefit people and the planet by driving inclusive growth, sustainable development and well-being.
  2. AI systems should be designed in a way that respects the rule of law, human rights, democratic values and diversity, and they should include appropriate safeguards – for example, enabling human intervention where necessary – to ensure a fair and just society.
  3. There should be transparency and responsible disclosure around AI systems to ensure that people understand when they are engaging with them and can challenge outcomes.
  4. AI systems must function in a robust, secure and safe way throughout their lifetimes, and potential risks should be continually assessed and managed.
  5. Organizations and individuals developing, deploying or operating AI systems should be held accountable for their proper functioning in line with the above principles.

42 countries sign OECD principles for AI ethics, transparency


facebook icon facebook icon

Sociable's Podcast