Towards AUKUS Collaboration on Responsible Military Artificial Intelligence

Research Questions

  1. What are the challenges and barriers that could inhibit or prevent the co-development of AI between the United States, the UK and Australia (AUKUS)?
  2. How can those challenges and barriers be mitigated?

As the United States and its close allies, such as the United Kingdom (UK) and Australia, face rising threats from China, a key part of their strategy has been to rely on allies and partners to outpace their competitor. However, operating alongside allies and partners also comes with operational challenges and complexities. The authors investigate the challenges and barriers that could inhibit or prevent the co-development of artificial intelligence (AI) between the United States and its closest allies and partners and make recommendations for overcoming those barriers.

Key Findings

  • The strengths of each partner must be leveraged while preserving the perspective and end-value of the product to junior partners.
  • The three members of AUKUS and many other countries are still evaluating how AI can be integrated into military applications, as well as how it might be integrated responsibly.
  • There are many challenges, such as international and domestic regulations, to enabling cooperation between militaries across traditionally stringent barriers.

Recommendations

  • AUKUS states should prioritize and streamline approaches to ethically and legally responsible use of AI.
  • AUKUS states should create new multinational research and development centres to continue to develop the capability for collaborative research.
  • AUKUS states should integrate data and AI into multinational exercises to develop military AI effectively and practically.
  • AUKUS states should collaboratively develop compatible operational concepts for the use of military AI.
  • AUKUS states should explore mechanisms for greater innovation and ecosystem integration by allowing for cross-sector collaboration and the free movement of talent between states.
  • AUKUS states should lessen the burden of data-sharing and intellectual property rights regulations to promote collaboration between states.

Research conducted by

Funding for this research was provided by gifts from RAND supporters and income from operations. This research was conducted within RAND Australia.

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