Online Courses (English)
This just in:

State PCS

Mains Practice Questions

  • Q. What are the ethical issues involved in using artificial intelligence in military security? (150 Words)

    12 May, 2022 GS Paper 4 Theoretical Questions


    • Begin by highlighting the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the military and the need for ethical dimension.
    • Enumerate various ethical issues involved in integrating AI with conventional military forces.
    • Conclude with the need for science and technology to prioritize human principles


    Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a technology that enables a computer to think or act in a more 'human' way. It does this by taking in information from its surroundings, and deciding its response based on what it learns or senses. It is a scientific and technological advancement which has the potential to transform military security at an unprecedented level. Since AI is overtaking the role of humans, ethical principles which govern human conduct must also be a concern before deployment of AI in the military.


    The ethical issues related to use of AI in military security are

    • Violation of the right to privacy and other human rights- AI augments the capability of military forces manifold, with the use of advanced AI tools for patrolling and surveillance. This may threaten the right to privacy and other fundamental ights in border and insurgency ridden areas.
    • Altering human behaviour and beliefs- In autocratic countries where allegiance towards a single party or person is necessary; an ethnic, cultural or religious aberration can invite the ire of the ruling government. In Xinjiang, for example, Chinese military is using face recognition technology and widespread spying by use of state-of-art AI tools for manipulating the behaviour and belief system of Uighur Muslims. Elsewhere, the government is developing social credit score system for assessing behaviour of citizens.
    • Subduing role of human intelligence and capability- Till now, the decisions in military security were taken by Generals who had years of experience in warfare, but with the involvement of mind-boggling data analysis beyond human capability, it would be the AI systems coming up with most rational and prudent decisions.
    • Emotional Intelligence and empathy- Military security dominated by human recruits is based on camaraderie and fraternity. Soldiers support each other emotionally in difficult circumstances but a soldier employed with or controlling a drone, automated weapon or a robotic dog cannot expect the same empathy from the machine. Even during crucial decision making, AI lacks Emotional Intelligence which could make such mechanistic decisions catastrophic. The Cuban Missile Crisis was diffused by JF Kennedy by using EI by calling USSR leader for conveying his concerns. However, decision making on threat perception by use of AI, leaves little scope of such reconciliation.
    • Proportionality in war- Introduction of AI in the military may increase the scale of violence and destruction and in case of war between two countries, one may choose to escalate it unilaterally with use of autonomous weapons, which can lead to more collateral damage.
    • Accountability and responsibility- Any war demands right conduct within the normative principles of warfare. Today, military personnel can be charged with war crimes if they violate the ethical principles of warfare, but once automated machines are involved, the burden of accountability gets scattered, and machines cannot be held responsible for cruel acts.


    Rational use of AI can be a game changer in terms of strengthening of internal and external security, however there is a need of assimilation of ethical principle and right conduct as Mahatma Gandhi said that any ‘science without humanity’ is a sin; we must keep in mind these words before going for indiscriminate use of AI in military security.

    To get PDF version, Please click on "Print PDF" button.

    Print PDF
SMS Alerts
Share Page