China Wants the United Nations to Regulate the Use of AI in Military Applications

China has presented a proposal to the United Nations for the first time to regulate the military application of artificial intelligence (AI), as its competition with the United States over the dual-use technology heats up. 

The document focuses on the study, development, deployment, and use of artificial intelligence (AI) for military applications, as well as suggestions for how to create and employ AI technology in the military. 

On Monday, the document was presented to the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons’ sixth review meeting in Geneva. 

China has invested billions in the sector over the years, particularly since the government announced the “New General AI Development Plan” in 2017, which aims to make China the world leader in AI by 2030. 

AI will be at the heart of the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) aim to become a “world-class” military capable of competing with the United States in the coming decades. 

 The incorporation of AI means the PLA will become more “intelligent alongside mechanization and informatization”. 

AI-driven technologies are already being used by the PLA. 

 The PLA Air Force has begun to use AI as simulated opponents in pilots’ aerial combat training so that pilots can hone their decision-making and fighting skills against fast-calculating computers. 

AIs are projected to be a key feature of China’s future fighters, assisting pilots with combat decisions in addition to efficiently teaching pilots. 

China appears to be attempting to level the playing field among countries with powerful AI capabilities in a document submitted to the United Nations on Monday. 

In a study on China’s armed forces released in November, the US Department of Defense underlined the importance of AI. 

The word “intelligentised” refers to the People’s Republic of China’s vision of future warfare, which is based on new and disruptive technology, particularly artificial intelligence (AI). Intelligent technologies, methods, and operational concepts that enhance information processing and decision-making on the battlefield include intelligent swarm warfare, cross-domain mobile warfare, AI-based space confrontation, and cognitive control operations. 

China is likewise incorporating these capabilities into its doctrine and warfighting preparations. China’s Academy of Military Science (AMS) is charged with ensuring that the PLA’s warfighting theory and doctrine properly exploit disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence and autonomous systems. China aspires to become a global innovation superpower by focusing on emerging technologies. 

China has asked for sector regulation and the establishment of a “universal international regime”. It urged nations to follow the principles of multilateralism, openness, and inclusion. Countries must conduct policy debates and exchanges, as well as increase contact with international organizations, in order to track technology development trends and avoid potential security problems. 

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