[Answered] Fielding nascent technologies like Artificial intelligence enabled weapons without comprehensive testing puts both military personnel and civilians at risk. Do you agree? Give justifications for your arguments.

Introduction: Contextual introduction.

Body: Explain some benefits of AI enabled weapons. Also write some concerns.

Conclusion: Write a way forward.

Artificial intelligence describes the action of machines accomplishing tasks that have historically required human intelligence. It includes technologies like machine learning, pattern recognition, big data, neural networks, self algorithms etc. AI powered by deep learning, data analytics, and cloud computing, is poised to alter the maritime battlefront, potentially triggering a revolution in military affairs in India.

Benefits of AI enabled weapons:

  • Logistics and supply chain management: AI-backed systems could go a long way in increasing efficiencies, reducing wastage and overall costs in the military’s logistics management.
  • Cyber-operations: As cyber warfare becomes faster, more sophisticated and more dangerous, it becomes necessary to develop both offensive and defensive cyber-war capabilities both to protect the military’s own assets and communication links, and to attack similar assets of opposing militaries.
  • Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR): Such “intelligent” unmanned systems could be used for patrolling in harsh terrains and weather conditions, providing harbour protection, and allowing the deploying force to scout the battlefield or conflict zone with no danger to human soldiers.
  • These weapons can save soldiers’ lives if wars are fought by machines. Also, in the hands of a responsible military, they can help soldiers target only combatants and avoid inadvertently killing friendly forces, children, and civilians.

Concerns:

  • Ethical paradox: AI compromises the control, safety, and accountability of weapon systems; it also enhances the risk of shared liability between networked systems, particularly when weapon algorithms are sourced from abroad.
  • Challenging for policy making: because military doctrine is premised on a traditional understanding of conflict. E.g. It is not yet clear if unmanned maritime systems enjoy the status of “ships” under the UN convention of the laws of the sea;
  • Capacity limitation: a large gap still exists in the development of critical technologies, which are system engineering, airborne and underwater sensors, weapon systems, and hi-tech components.
  • AI is characterised by a predisposition to certain kinds of data. This may affect rational decision-making, undermining confidence in automated combat solutions. E.g. AI seemingly automates weapon systems in ways that are inconsistent with the laws of war.

To fully exploit their potential, however, the Indian military needs to build a close working relationship with the vibrant private technology sector in India, and especially with start-ups doing exciting work in the AI space.

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