Biden and Xi to pledge ban on AI in autonomous weapons
China’s President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden are expected to agree to limit the use of AI in autonomous weapons and nuclear warheads.
Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping will announce a landmark deal to ban the use of AI in autonomous weapons, such as drones, and in the control and deployment of nuclear warheads. This announcement is expected to be made on 15 November at a highly anticipated bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in the San Francisco Bay area. The forthcoming commitment by the two global superpowers is a significant development in global efforts to regulate AI’s role in military applications and nuclear technologies and a strong signal for responsible AI use in sensitive areas.
Autonomous weapons systems are often equipped with drones and other unmanned vehicles. They have the capability of carrying out military actions without the need for direct human involvement.
The issue is that AI’s capability to make quick decisions in combat might result in unforeseen results and uncontrolled consequences. The ban seeks to address these concerns by preventing the integration of AI into weapons systems that operate autonomously.
Why does it matter?
At Wednesday’s meeting, Biden and Xi will strive to ease current tensions. Limiting AI use in warfare is one of the issues on which they can agree. The pledge attempts to mitigate the risks of AI-driven conflict and maintain human control over crucial decisions in military warfare. Experts have also highlighted the importance of keeping a ‘human in the loop’ in nuclear command and control. The accord is expected to reflect this view, seeking to prevent the automation of nuclear command and control systems.
The agreement comes in the wake of the landmark Biden executive order for safe and responsible AI. Under the new federal rules, advanced AI systems must receive government certification to ensure they are not used for creating biological or nuclear weapons.
Discussions around the use of AI in military applications are ongoing and complex. At the UN, multilateral discussions to ban lethal autonomous weapons that target humans have so far failed, but a new resolution unveiled this month may add pressure to restrict their use.