UK Lords Committee Advises Exercising Prudence with Autonomous Weapons Implementation

The House of Lords committee has advised the UK government to be cautious in the development and deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) for military purposes, particularly autonomous weapons systems (AWS). The committee examined the ethical considerations of using AWS, including their safe and reliable use, potential for conflict escalation, and compliance with international laws. In a report released on 1 December, the committee stated that the government’s promises to approach military AI in an ambitious and responsible manner have not been realized and need to be put into practice. The committee emphasized the importance of public confidence and democratic endorsement in the development and use of AI, including AWS. To achieve this, the committee made several recommendations on increasing public understanding, enhancing parliamentary decision-making, and ensuring human control in the lifecycle of AWS. The committee also called for a prohibition on the use of AI technology in nuclear command, control, and communications due to the risks involved. Additionally, the committee urged the government to take a leadership role in international engagement on military AI and AWS. The aim is to work together to create an effective international instrument to regulate the use of AI in the military. The UK government’s response to the committee’s report is expected in January 2024.

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