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On Digital Ethics for Artificial Intelligence and Information Fusion in the Defense Domain

: Koch, Wolfgang


IEEE aerospace and electronic systems magazine 36 (2021), No.7, pp.94-111
ISSN: 0885-8985
ISSN: 1557-959X
Journal Article
Fraunhofer FKIE ()

“For knowledge itself is power...”--- Francis Bacon's statement on achieving power as the meaning of all knowledge marks the beginning of the modern project. At the latest since the advent of AI in the defense domain, however, technology meant for the benefit of humanity may turn against humanity. This specific type of instrumental knowledge makes the modern crisis as visible as in spotlight. Ethical knowledge of man and his nature must complement Bacon's knowledge. There is an “ecology of man”: He does not make himself; he is responsible for himself and others. How can the data fusion community technically support responsible use of the power we are harvesting from AI? To argue more specifically, we consider documents of the German Bundeswehr, founded in the 1950s when the term AI was coined. Since these armed forces have learned lessons from “total war” and tyranny, they seem conceptually prepared for mastering the digital challenge. There exist parallels to ongoing IEEE P7000 standardization activities.