Implications of U.S. Ban on Artificially Intelligent Automated Killing Machines

  • October 23, 2017
  • Lt Col John G. Lehane

In November 2012, then Secretary of Defense Carter signed Department of Defense Directive 3000.09 Autonomy in Weapons Systems, which stymies the development and fielding of artificially intelligent autonomous lethal weapons systems. While that policy may be appropriate for weapons systems that presently exist, inhibiting their future development will place the United States at a significant tactical, operational, and strategic disadvantage in the future. This paper will examine the current pace of technological development, forecasts on how those trends may continue, the nascent development of automated killing machines, projected development of those machines, objections of governments and non-governmental organizations, and implications of either DoD Directive 3000.09 or future directives which may be even more restrictive.