Automated technologies are increasingly used in military activities and are likely to change the way that militaries across the world operate in the future. The most widespread use of automated technology to date has been in remotely piloted air systems. However, other military domains (such as land and sea) also make use of automation. There is also increasing interest in trialling more sophisticated forms of automation that embed artificial intelligence (AI) technology. Examples of some of the military AI tools being considered by the MoD include automated analysis of drone footage, which can support reconnaissance.

This POSTnote will provide an overview of current and future military applications of automation and AI, and the technical, legal, ethical and societal issues associated with this. It will also consider how developments in computing technologies (such as quantum computing), may shape how AI is used.

Work on this briefing will commence in late May 2022.

To contribute expertise or literature, please e-mail Katherine MacFarlane.

Image: RAF’s future Remotely Piloted aircraft takes to UK skies, UK MOD © Crown copyright 2021 under OGL (Open Government License)

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