Report of the AI Task Force by the French Armed Forces Ministry

On April 2019, the French Armed Forces Minister, Florence Parly, set out France’s main priorities and ambitions in the field of artificial intelligence. The French Minister established a dedicated team to draw up a comprehensive report on the subject: the AI Task Force Report. In December 2019, the Minister decided to publish a public version of this report: the « Artificial Intelligence in Support of Defense ».

This report considers that the international community and society are facing a revolution area due to the use of artificial intelligence. It also aims to provide a series of insights and recommendations.

It includes some guidelines for a ‘controlled defense AI’, a roadmap on how a robust ethical and legal framework could be set up as well as what could be the foundations for a successful development of AI.

The report mentions the French armed forces ministry priorities but also its governance and organisation’s vision as well as its innovation, research, and development strategy.

The report considers that there is a global AI race and ‘that race is so swift and the prizes at stake so great that any falling away would be fatal’.

Figure 2 - Publication of national AI strategies
Figure 2 - Publication of national AI strategies

‘‘The French armed forces cannot therefore stand aside from these developments, at the risk of missing a major technological turning-point and losing the operational superiority they currently enjoy.’’

Strategic, economic, defensive and military interests are at stake at the premises of artificial intelligence. AI would support operational superiority but with the fear that enemies would also be able to predict adversary modes of action, paralyse their command capabilities or extend their influence operations.

‘’An aspiring intermediate power, the EU, whose hardline approach to legal and ethical issues may be a strength or a weakness depending on its impact (standard-setting power underpinned by many public- and private-sector actors vs risk of having a research or entrepreneurial development policy that is too timid or hampered by excessive regulation).’’

As various AI strategies published recently reveal a global hierarchy of AI power, France aims to rise from having certain advantages but not sufficient critical mass to, at least, an inspiring intermediate power.


Credit Photo @ministeredesarmees

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