“AI decision support” – nuclear submarine edition

The US and China are global leaders in AI and both are actively working to put machine learning based systems into nuclear submarines.

AI decision-support system … would reduce the commanding officers’ workload and mental burden … An AI assist also could help commanding officers estimate the risks and benefits of certain combat manoeuvres, even suggesting moves not considered by the vessel’s captain … must have a simple structure to reduce its risk of failure. And it must be compact and compatible with subs’ existing computer systems.
— China’s plan to use artificial intelligence to boost the thinking skills of nuclear submarine commanders

“AI decision support” is a phrase we expect to hear more and more in the future.  As we move from uses such as media translators (image recognition, natural language processing, etc.) to making more consequential decisions we will need systems specifically design for decision support rather than for only giving point recomendations.  Such decision support systems will be one element of a hybrid process that mixes the strengths of humans and AIs.

Increasing reliance on AI by the military strongly supports the case for explainable systems and is the reason that DARPA helped initiate our field’s interest in XAI.

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