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Warriors and War Algorithms: Leveraging Artificial Intelligence to Enable Ethical Targeting

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Technical Report

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Naval War College Newport United States

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This paper examines how Artificial Intelligence AI is likely to enable the US military to execute its warfighting missions in a more ethical way, and thereby better abide by the moral intent of International Humanitarian Law IHL and highlight where it may introduce challenges. It accomplishes this task by examining two key characteristics of military targeting distinction and proportionality. It then explains how narrow-AI war algorithms have the potential lead to greater jus in bello ethical warfighting. AI can clearly improve warfighters ability to positively identify targets through greater battlespace awareness. It can also help prevent injuries to non-combatants by allowing targeting analysts to more accurately predict the amount of collateral damage a strike may cause by creating a process that yields truly ethically optimal results vice merely settling for satisficing.

Subject Categories:

  • Cybernetics
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
  • Psychology

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