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Giving an AI Control of Nuclear Weapons: What Could Go Wrong?


Illustration shows a robot in control of nuclear attack.

Changing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to require nuclear weapons states to maintain human control over nuclear weapons is just the start.

Credit: Getty Images

Militaries are increasingly incorporating autonomous functions into weapons systems, though as far as is publicly known, they have not yet turned the nuclear launch codes over to an artificial intelligence (AI) system. But there is no guarantee that some military will not put AI in charge of nuclear launches; international law does not specify that there should always be a human guarding the button.

Unfortunately, requiring humans to make decisions on firing nuclear weapons is not the end of the story. An obvious challenge is how to ensure the commitments to human control are trustworthy.

From Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
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