Researchers brief industry on ethics of military artificial intelligence (AI) and machine autonomy program

Jan. 15, 2024
ASIMOV will model military machine automation and its ethical difficulties, and build standards against which future autonomous systems may be judged.

ARLINGTON, Va. – U.S. military researchers will brief industry later this month on an upcoming project to explore the ethics and technical challenges of using artificial intelligence and machine autonomy in future military operations.

Officials of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) will brief industry on the Autonomy Standards and Ideals with Military Operational Values (ASIMOV) project from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 29 Jan. 2024 at 675 N. Randolph St. in Arlington, Va.

The ASIMOV program aims to develop benchmarks to measure the ethical difficulty of future military machine autonomy, and the readiness of autonomous systems to perform in military operations.

The rapid development of machine autonomy and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies needs ways to measure and evaluate the technical and ethical performance of autonomous systems. ASIMOV will develop and demonstrate autonomy benchmarks, and is not developing autonomous systems or algorithms for autonomous systems.

Related: Artificial intelligence and machine learning for unmanned vehicles

The ASIMOV program intends to create the ethical autonomy language to enable the test community to evaluate the ethical difficulty of specific military scenarios and the ability of autonomous systems to perform ethically within those scenarios.

ASIMOV performers will need to develop prototype modeling environments to explore military scenarios for machine automation and its ethical difficulties. If successful, ASIMOV will build some of the standards against which future autonomous systems may be judged.

The goals of the ASIMOV Proposers Day are to introduce industry, academia, and government to the ASIMOV program vision and goals; explain the mechanics of a DARPA program and its milestones; and encourage teaming among potential bidders.

Related: Artificial intelligence and embedded computing for unmanned vehicles

Those attending the ASIMOV proposers day briefings may give 60-second "lightning talks" that outline their teaming interests and capabilities; and have one-on-one sessions with the ASIMOV program manager.

Those interested in attending the ASIMOV proposers day briefings should register online no later than 22 Jan. 2024 at Registration is free.

Email questions or concerns to DARPA at [email protected]. More information is online at

About the Author

John Keller | Editor

John Keller is editor-in-chief of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine, which provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronic and optoelectronic technologies in military, space, and commercial aviation applications. A member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since the magazine's founding in 1989, Mr. Keller took over as chief editor in 1995.

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