‘Legal framework required for AI use in Armed Forces’

Mubarak Ansari
Monday, 1 April 2019

Lt Gen PJS Pannu, the Deputy Chief of Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) (Doctrine Organisation and Training), vouched for an international convention or legal framework before using Artificial Intelligence (AI) extensively in warfare by the Armed Forces.

Pune: Lt Gen PJS Pannu, the Deputy Chief of Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) (Doctrine Organisation and Training), vouched for an international convention or legal framework before using Artificial Intelligence (AI) extensively in warfare by the Armed Forces.

Lt Gen Pannu was speaking at the inauguration of a seminar and exhibition on ‘Military Robotics and Autonomous Systems’ at the Military Institute of Technology (MILIT) located at Girinagar near Khadakwasla.
 
MILIT, a tri-services armed forces technical institute, is commemorating its 4th Raising Day. The seminar is a first amongst a series of lectures/seminars planned on the topic of ‘Military Robotics, Autonomous Systems and Artificial Intelligence’, which is the core theme of MILIT for the year 2019. Lt Gen Pannu, while delivering the keynote address, brought out the changing scenario of modern day warfare and emphasised on the need for embracing advanced technologies to bridge the gap between man and machine to overcome various present-day challenges. 

Speaking to mediapersons, Lt Gen Pannu said, “What if something goes wrong with the system, which has been created by human beings? The sense is going to be made by the machines. When it is by human beings, then you can actually question the man on how does one make sense of something in a particular manner. But when a machine starts making sense, then sense making itself will have to be held to account, through another system, which at the moment doesn’t exist. So that is a challenge we will have to deal with. Humanity will have to deal with it. International conventions will have to step in to see how much AI can be used for automotive war fighting.” 

When asked if machines can replace soldiers, the General Officer added, “The challenges of replacing a solider with a robot is the danger of its programme going out of your control in some way, then the decision taken through that robot can cause harm. So this replacement will happen with a lot of caution. Many programmes will be made, many will be shelved considering the ethical angle. But this will happen in the forward direction.” 

The event comprised of lectures by subject matter experts and a panel discussion moderated by Dr Rajesh Ingle, Dean PICT, Chair IEEE CS, Pune Chapter. Various prominent speakers who were part of the seminar included Lt Col P Anand Kumar, Capt Brijesh Kalra (Retd), Vice President of L&T Ltd, Karthika Roy Sc ‘E’ R&DE(E), Prof Aniruddha Pradhan, Prof Aditya Gupta and Prof Sachin Deshpande.

Defence, academia join hands 
The seminar cum exhibition presented an opportunity to certain organisations and firms to demonstrate their technological products like Robot Daksh by R&DE(E), students project by DIAT (DU), Switch Hybrid UAV by Idea Forge, Dobot Magician Robotic arm by India First Robotics, Mars Rover Prototype by Robolab Technologies, etc. Institute for Design of Electrical Measuring Instruments (IDEMI) also demonstrated a project on augmented reality/ virtual reality. The seminar cum exhibition was attended by over 200 tri-services’ student officers of MILIT and College of Military Engineering (CME), Pune. In addition, students from DIAT, AIT, PICT, MIT and members of IEEE CS also participated. The seminar concluded with an idea to pave a way towards great interactions of such nature wherein defence, industries and academia can join hands to come under one roof to evolve and advance in such technological fields.

MILIT’s 4th anniversary 
In addition to the seminar, a social gathering at officers’ mess was organised, which was also graced by Lt Gen Pannu as the chief guest. 

The event was attended by over 250 personnel including serving officers, alumni, veterans and distinguished guests, from various civil and military installations in and around Pune. For the welfare of the families, MILIT conducted a ‘Thyroid Detection Camp’.

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