Where the Department of Defense is investing in artificial intelligence, we are doing so in areas that provide us with the most strategic advantage and capitalize on our existing advantages. We also draw a clear line when it comes to nuclear weapons. US politics is to keep a human « in the loop » for all critical actions to inform and execute the president’s decisions to initiate and end the use of nuclear weapons.
While we are rapidly incorporating AI into many other aspects of our mission – from battlespace awareness, cyber and reconnaissance, to logistics, force support and other back-office functions – we do so alert to the potential dangers of AI, which we are determined to avoid. We don’t use AI to censor, limit, repress or disempower people. By putting our values first and leveraging our strengths, the greatest of which is our people, we have adopted a responsible approach to AI that will ensure America continues to move forward.
Our current level of funding for AI reflects our current needs: the latest US defense budget, for fiscal year 2024, is investing $1.8 billion in artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities to continue our progress in modernization and innovation. That will change over time as we incorporate technology effectively into the way we operate while staying true to the principles that make us the best fighting force in the world.
While our use of artificial intelligence reflects our ethics and democratic values, we don’t try to control innovation. America’s vibrant innovation ecosystem is second to none because it is fueled by a free and open society of imaginative inventors, actors and problem solvers. While this makes me choose our free-market system over China’s statist system any day of the week, that doesn’t mean the two systems can’t coexist.
Chinese diplomats said so that the PRC « ‘takes the need to prevent and manage AI-related risks and challenges very seriously,' » according to the news. Those are good words; actions matter most. If China is truly « ready to step up trade and cooperation ‘with all sides’, » the Pentagon would welcome such direct engagement.
Our commitment to values is one of the reasons the United States and its military have so many capable allies and partners around the world, and growing numbers of commercial technology innovators who want to work with us: because they share our values.
These values are not owned by any country or company; others are invited to embrace them. For example, if the PRC made a credible and verifiable commitment to maintain human involvement for all actions critical to informing and executing sovereign decisions on the use of nuclear weapons, it could find that commitment warmly welcomed by its neighbors and other members of the international community. And rightly so.
The United States is not seeking an AI arms race, or any arms race, with China, just as we are not seeking conflict either. With artificial intelligence and all our capabilities, we are only trying to deter aggression and defend our country, our allies and partners, and our interests.
America and China compete to shape the future of the 21st century, technologically and otherwise. That competition is one we intend to win, not despite our values, but because of them.