Reply to post: Re: 6000 civilian deaths

Engineers, coders – it's down to you to prevent AI being weaponised

Michael Wojcik Silver badge

Re: 6000 civilian deaths

Maybe instead of blaming the AI, blame the "fog of war"?

Cori addressed this to some extent in the article, and it's been studied fairly extensively by psychologists and others. The issue with AI is that the more decision-making is delegated to technology, the easier human decision-makers find it to initiate or permit violence. That's been demonstrated in everything from organized large-scale combat to one-on-one interactions.

When drones are using ML to pick "plausible" targets, human operators will quickly adapt to simply confirming every suggestion made by the algorithm. ("Stupid bird! Why did I leave you in charge!")

Moral, tactical, and strategic decisions are expensive - they require significant conscious higher-order brain activity, which means they only happen when we make ourselves consider them, and they're tiring. They also carry post-commitment costs: second-guessing, guilt, etc. Those are very strong incentives to avoid them. If they can be delegated to a machine, that's exactly what most people will do.

True, wars are full of decisions - accidental and deliberate - which harm civilians (and unnecessarily harm combatants, for that matter). That doesn't mean there aren't very serious ethical and pragmatic issues with automating that decision process.

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