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International Summit in The Hague Endorses Joint Call to Action for Responsible Military Use of AI

At a two-day international summit on the responsible use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the military domain, over 60 countries have agreed to a joint call to action endorsing the responsible development, deployment, and use of AI in militaries. The call to action was held in The Hague, the Dutch city which has hosted the signing of a number of peace treaties, and was attended by nearly 2,000 delegates from governments, businesses, civil societies, academia, and thinktanks.

The U.S. Government released its own framework for the Political Declaration on the Responsible Military Use of Artificial Intelligence and Autonomy, which it wants nations to agree to.[0] This framework calls for military AI to be accountable and for there to be a human in command of using these technologies. It also outlines a series of non-binding guidelines, such as adopting, publishing, and implementing principles for the responsible design, development, deployment, and use of AI capabilities by military organizations; designing and engineering military AI capabilities to possess the ability to detect and avoid unintended consequences and the ability to disengage or deactivate deployed systems that demonstrate unintended behavior; and ensuring that military AI capabilities are developed with auditable methodologies, data sources, design procedures, and documentation.

The joint call to action pledges to take ‘appropriate safeguards and human oversight of the use of AI systems’ and ‘to work together, share knowledge by exchanging good practices and lessons learnt.’ It also calls for countries “to ensure that humans remain responsible and accountable for decisions when using AI in the military domain” as well as sharing best practices and developing national frameworks.

The joint call to action was initiated by Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra. “This is, after all, the city of peace and justice,” Hoekstra told reporters at a briefing ahead of the conference when asked why the Netherlands was hosting the first gathering of its type.[1]

China's ambassador to the Netherlands, Tan Jian, emphasized that military applications of AI concern the common security and well-being of mankind, which requires the united response of all countries. He added that China has enhanced relevant research on legal, military, technological and ethical aspects, improved AI-related security governance, and submitted two position papers to the United Nations on regulating military applications of AI and strengthening ethical governance of AI.[2]

0. “U.S. Seeks Consensus on AI, Autonomy in Military Use” Mirage News, 16 Feb. 2023, https://www.miragenews.com/us-seeks-consensus-on-ai-autonomy-in-military-949181/

1. “Countries sign military AI pact at historic summit, but is it enough?” Courthouse News Service, 16 Feb. 2023, https://www.courthousenews.com/countries-sign-military-ai-pact-at-historic-summit-but-is-it-enough/

2. “China attaches great importance to AI security governance: ambassador” SHINE, 17 Feb. 2023, https://www.shine.cn/news/nation/2302176299/