‘Judeo-Christian Society’ Foundations Create More Ethical AI
The utilization of artificial intelligence (AI) in modern warfare has raised ethical concerns worldwide. However, according to Lieutenant General Richard G. Moore Jr., Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Programs in the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. military holds higher ethical standards in AI implementation compared to its foreign adversaries. This ethical superiority, he argues, stems from the foundational principles of the nation’s Judeo-Christian society. While not unique to the United States, Moore believes that these values of morality and a moral compass set the U.S. military apart from societies with different foundations, making it more cautious and responsible in the use of AI.
In recent years, the U.S. military has demonstrated its dominance in cyberspace and the electromagnetic spectrum, enabling it to gain a significant advantage over adversaries. However, the rise of technological threats from countries such as China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea has raised concerns about the ethical implications of AI in future international conflicts. Lt. Gen. Moore emphasizes the need to consider the actions and approaches of adversaries, as some societies may not share the same ethical standards when it comes to the use of AI in warfare.
According to Lt. Gen. Moore, the ethical divide between the U.S. military and its adversaries lies in the foundation of society. He argues that the Judeo-Christian principles that underpin American society provide a moral compass that guides the military’s decision-making processes. This moral compass, he suggests, ensures that the U.S. military considers the means employed to achieve its goals, unlike adversaries who may prioritize the ends over the means, regardless of ethical considerations.
While the U.S. military holds higher ethical standards in the use of AI, there is growing concern about the investment disparity in AI development. China, in particular, has been leading the world in funding innovative defense measures, allocating a substantial percentage of its military investment to AI. In contrast, the U.S. focuses more on consumer services. Scale AI founder Alexander Wang highlights this significant disparity, with China allocating 1-2% of its overall budget to AI compared to the U.S. Department of Defense’s allocation of 0.1-0.2%.
Acknowledging the importance of ethical considerations in AI warfare, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) began working on responsible guidelines for the military’s use of AI and autonomy during the Trump administration. After extensive consultations with AI experts, the DoD AI strategy aimed to position the U.S. military as a leader in AI ethics and the lawful use of AI systems. Similarly, Joe Biden’s State Department issued a declaration on the responsible military use of AI and autonomy, emphasizing compliance with international humanitarian law and the need for responsible human chain of command and control during operations.
To ensure ethical AI implementation, the U.S. military has added several forms of ethical AI exploration to its agenda. This exploration focuses on three crucial aspects: defining the limits of AI capabilities, understanding and trusting the decision-making processes of AI algorithms, and determining the level of autonomy AI systems should have. By addressing these concerns, the U.S. military aims to maintain control, transparency, and accountability in AI-driven operations, ensuring that ethical considerations remain at the forefront.
While Lt. Gen. Moore’s comments emphasize the ethical superiority of AI in the U.S. military due to its Judeo-Christian foundation, ethics in AI are not limited to any single religious tradition. There is ongoing work in the ethics space that transcends religious perspectives, focusing on the importance of human welfare, autonomy, and just social systems. Alex John London, a professor of ethics and computational technologies, highlights the broader scope of ethics that encompasses diverse perspectives and values, beyond religious boundaries.
The U.S. military recognizes the ethical challenges posed by the use of AI in warfare and strives to maintain higher ethical standards compared to its adversaries. With the support of responsible guidelines and declarations, the military aims to lead in AI ethics and ensure the lawful and ethical use of AI systems.