DEFENSEAmerican’s Autonomous Weapons Policy

by Hira Bashir

Autonomous weapons systems are the result of advancement in AI. Paul Scharre mentions in his book ‘Army of None’ that “Kevin Kelly, a technology expert, has related AI to electricity: just as electricity gives objects around us power, AI will bring them intelligence. In a battlefield, AI systems can either aid humans in making judgements or be given the authority to make their own. The emergence of artificial intelligence will change the face of battle”. These weapons are programmed with the information to select and attack target. For example; air defense systems that strike incoming missiles and some loitering munitions, developed to destroy military radars, tanks or armored vehicles.

As Sun Tzu says in his book ‘The Art of War’ speed is the essence of war. And well known policy makers are working on this. They are in point of view advancement through AI can lead to speed in war. Some policy makers are in the favor of development autonomous but others have mixed opinions. Some think if autonomous weapons are somehow controlled by humans it can be beneficial. But it is not possible as war is not a static phenomenon, it is dynamic anything can happen at any moment there is instant response in wars. So it is not possible to respond while waiting for the command from humans. There can be malfunctioning in operating such weapons for example, during invasion in Iraq US accidentally killed its ally aircraft because of misinformation received from radars. US new policy on autonomous weapon aims to avoid malfunctions of autonomous weapon. They want to update these weapons with avoiding data encoding mistakes. But it cannot be achieved as the chances of miatskes always rely in machines.

Now the countries are investing their resources for the development of these weapons and making modern policies for their developments. Russia, China, US, Israel, South Korea and others.

The United States increased its investment in AI, and a bill was recently passed that provides an investment of US$29 billion over 2022-2026 for emerging AI tech research and innovation, as well as US$52 billion for existing initiatives in AI and machine learning, as well as US$1.5 billion for 5G R&D. The United States Pentagon will spend $874 million on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies in 2022, a 50% increase over current-year levels.US Defense Department released new policy on 25 January, 2023 in which US aims to increase the role of AI in warfare . AI can be used in a variety of military applications, including cybersecurity, warfare systems, logistics and transport, target recognition, warfare healthcare, threat monitoring & situational awareness, AI & data information processing, and combat simulation training.

Recently, officials from India which means that India and the US are also collaborating on AI on Artificial Intelligence, quantum technology, and other forms defense production which includes semi-conductor It means that India will have the access to the US and automation of the technology. The US update of the autonomous weapons could have implications for Pakistan. This dealing is going to bring threat of autonomous weapons on the borders of Pakistan. The implications of the American autonomous weapons policy on Pakistan are likely to be bad.

The deployment of autonomous weapons could also have negative implications for Pakistan, particularly if such systems are used in a manner that is perceived as being destabilizing or aggressive. This could increase tensions between the US and Pakistan and exacerbate existing security challenges in the region. Additionally, the use of autonomous weapons by the US could also set a precedent for other countries to develop and deploy similar systems, potentially leading to an arms race in the development of autonomous weapons.

This could have significant implications for global security and stability and could lead to an increased risk of accidental or unintended conflict. In conclusion, the American policy on autonomous weapons is likely to have complex and potentially far-reaching implications for Pakistan, as well as for the broader region and the world. It is important that the US government considers these implications carefully as it continues to develop and implement its policy in this area.

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