Pentagon Closing In on 'Ethical' AI Implementation

The Defense Department is still finalizing an implementation plan for its artificial intelligence ethical principles, according to Jane Pinelis, the chief of AI assurance for the Defense Department's Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, said at an event on Tuesday. 

"So we are the first military to adopt the ethical principles for AI. Since then, multiple other nations have done so, and where we stand now with [chief digital and artificial intelligence office] is we're trying to move into implementation,"

Pinelis said during a panel discussion at the Atlantic Council on May 17.  

"So we have the five ethical principles at this point. We have [gotten] direction from the deputy secretary to advance them across six different tenets. But now we're moving into … implementation." 

The Defense Department released guidance for using AI responsibly in May 2021 after announcing a set of ethical principles the year before.  

Pinelis said the implementation plan, which is awaiting the deputy defense secretary's signature, would be a "formal pathway forward" that tasks "various organizations in the Department of Defense with very specific actions as far as actually putting these principles into practice."

Many of those tasks, she continued, overlap with testing and evaluation but there are many pieces that require everyone across DOD to take some responsibility.