Exploring the civilian-military divide on artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence is expected to be a key factor in maintaining the military dominance of the US military. The United States Department of Defense (DoD) is involved with large private-sector high-tech companies, for which the military represents a relatively small percentage of their customer base, providing sophisticated AI capabilities and a valuable way for AI software developers to access. Engineer

To measure the views of software engineers and other tech workers in the private sector on possible applications of AI between DoD, a research team conducted a survey describing how the US military could use AI and asked respondents to describe their level of comfort. . Thus using AI.

There were several reasons for the situation, including the level of distance from the battlefield, the destructiveness of the action, and the level of human supervision over the AI ​​algorithm. The results of this RAND survey show that most U.S. AI experts do not oppose the use of AI for DoD’s core mission or for many military applications.

The main conclusion

There doesn’t seem to be a huge gap between Silicon Valley and DOD.

– Respondents from Silicon Valley Tech Company and university alumni, including high-level computer science departments, feel comfortable with the various military applications of AI.

There is a significant difference in comfort levels for AI applications involving the use of lethal force.

– Nearly one-third of respondents to the three Silicon Valley tech companies surveyed felt uncomfortable using deadly AI.

The technical staff lacks confidence in the leaders, even in themselves.

– Software engineers and other technology workers have very little confidence in people in leadership positions.

– They trust the CEOs of tech companies as much as they trust elected officials or heads of federal agencies.

Technology workers are most concerned about the cyber threat in the United States.

– More than 75% of respondents see China and Russia as serious threats to the United States.

Technology professionals support the use of military force to defend against foreign aggression.

– Respondents strongly support the use of military force to protect the United States and its NATO allies against foreign aggression, with almost 90% of respondents believing that the use of military force in this situation is justified.

Silicon Valley tech workers have very little personal relationship with the military

– Less than 2% of Silicon Valley respondents have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.

– About 20% of software engineers who work for defense contractors have previously served in the U.S. military.


Measures should be explored to expand cooperation between the Department of Defense and Silicon Valley companies on the threat posed by cyber attacks, a potential application of AI that Silicon Valley engineers see as a critical global threat.

Expansion of personnel involved in military operations should be explored to evaluate possible ways to develop greater trust between technical experts expanding and Silicon Valley contributors (non-managing employees) working in technical roles.

The potential advantages of the Department of Defense should consider the use of AI in some of the details of the Department of Defense employing Silicon Valley engineers; It is also worth considering how the military views the short and complex situations in which AI will be used.

The potential benefits of such an approach should be explored, along with the value of creating opportunities for DoD and Silicon Valley employees to commit to common values ​​and policies. The recently published DoD ethics policy for AI shows that DoD itself does not feel comfortable with some potential use of AI: it can serve as a basis for conversations with Silicon Valley engineers about what AI should be used for and what it should not be.

Another potential outcome of the investigation is to evaluate the benefits and create a variety of engagements to help the most innovative and experienced US AI experts to understand how DOD accomplishes its mission and discover how their talents and skills can help DOD solve national problems. .

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