Lawmakers from both chambers of the US Congress introduced a bill this week that would officially prohibit the use of AI in launching nuclear weapons.
Despite the Department of Defense’s current policy requiring human oversight for such critical decisions, the Block Nuclear Launch by AI Act would glorify this policy into law, preventing federal funds from being used for automated nuclear launches without “meaningful human control.”
Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) and Representatives Ted Lieu (D-MA), Don Beyer (D-VA), and Ken Buck (R-CO) introduced a bill intending to safeguard future generations from potentially devastating consequences. The co-sponsors in the Senate include Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
Senator Markey emphasized the need to ensure that only humans have the power to command, control, and launch nuclear weapons in an increasingly digital age. He expressed pride in introducing the Block Nuclear Launch by Autonomous Artificial Intelligence Act to keep humans in the loop on life or death decisions, especially concerning the most dangerous weapons.
Recent months have witnessed a surge in the usage of artificial intelligence chatbots, including the widely popular ChatGPT, advanced GPT-4, Google Bard, image generators, and voice cloners. Republicans have even begun using AI-generated video ads in their political campaign.
However, several experts have expressed concerns that unregulated usage of these technologies could lead to severe consequences for humanity.
According to Cason Schmit, an Assistant Professor of Public Health at Texas A&M University, lawmakers are frequently lagging in adjusting to the swiftly evolving technological landscape.
Despite the proliferation of AI chatbots, the federal government has not passed any AI-based legislation. However, a group of tech leaders and AI experts signed a letter in March, urging an “immediate” six-month halt on developing AI systems beyond GPT-4. Additionally, the Biden administration has opened public comments to obtain feedback on potential AI regulations.
Rep. Lieu stated that the future of AI and its role in society is uncertain, and it is the responsibility of Congress members to have responsible foresight in protecting future generations from potentially devastating consequences.
To ensure that a human being has control over the employment of a nuclear weapon and not a robot, he introduced the bipartisan, bicameral Block Nuclear Launch by Autonomous AI Act. Rep. Lieu emphasized that AI can never replace human decisions when it comes to launching nuclear weapons.