US lawmakers want to prevent AI from launching nukes

A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the United States has introduced a proposed measure to prevent artificial intelligence (AI) from making launch decisions within the nuclear command and control process of the US.

The bill was introduced in the House of Representatives and the Senate simultaneously. Representatives Ted Lieu, Donald Beyer, Jr. and Ken Buck introduced the legislation in the House while Sen. Edward Markey entered companion legislation in the Senate.

The Block Nuclear Launch by Autonomous Artificial Intelligence Act would codify existing Pentagon policy that mandates human action initiate any nuclear launch and would bar federal funds from being used to carry out any nuclear launch by automated systems. Nuclear launches would require “meaningful human control” under the legislation.

“AI technology is developing at an extremely rapid pace,” Lieu said in a joint statement. “While we all try to grapple with the pace at which AI is accelerating, the future of AI and its role in society remains unclear. It is our job as Members of Congress to have responsible foresight when it comes to protecting future generations from potentially devastating consequences.”

A brief synopsis of the bill released by the lawmakers says artificial intelligence “is not a substitute for human control and legal judgment,” emphasizing the need to “secure these guardrails to protect future generations from potentially devastating consequences – and ensure that there is no future in which a robot can launch a nuclear weapon.”


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