The Need for a Human in the Loop

While the military is increasingly moving to a more autonomous future, with remotely piloted aircraft taking up more of the military fleet, there will always be a need for humans in the loop, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said. Speaking Monday at an Atlantic magazine event in Washington, D.C., carter said that though there is more automation in the system, “I’m certain our public will insist on a human being involved” when force is used. Artificial intelligence cannot be the one to decide when to take kinetic steps in battle, he said. Air Force leadership has pushed the same message. Even as the service looks to move the human out of the loop, and instead control multiple aircraft, a pilot still needs to be in charge of the decision making for airstrikes. (See also: Keeping the Human Involved and Future of Autonomy Isn’t Autonomous.)