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Feb. 8, 2023

Trusting AI

By C. Anthony Pfaff US Army War College

Integrating artificially intelligent technologies for military purposes poses a special challenge. In previous arms races, such as the race to atomic bomb technology during World War II, expertise resided within the Department of Defense. But in the artificial intelligence (AI) arms race, expertise dwells mostly within industry and academia. Also, unlike the development of the bomb, effective employment of AI technology cannot be relegated to a few specialists; almost everyone will have to develop some level of AI and data literacy. Complicating matters is AI-driven systems can be a “black box” in that humans may not be able to explain some output, much less be held accountable for its consequences. This inability to explain coupled with the cession to a machine of some functions normally performed by humans risks the relinquishment of some jurisdiction and, consequently, autonomy to those outside the profession. Ceding jurisdiction could impact the American people’s trust in their military and, thus, its professional standing. To avoid these outcomes, creating and maintaining trust requires integrating knowledge of AI and data science into the military’s professional expertise. This knowledge covers both AI technology and how its use impacts command responsibility; talent management; governance; and the military’s relationship with the US government, the private sector, and society.

C. Anthony Pfaff
Project Director
Christopher J. Lowrance, Bre M. Washburn, Brett A. Carey


Trusting AI: Integrating Artificial Intelligence into the Army’s Professional Expert Knowledge 

Download the Executive Summary