A.I. Won’t Transform War. It’ll Only Make Venture Capitalists Richer.

All of the above suggests that we should proceed with
caution before rushing to center the U.S. arsenal on A.I.-driven systems and
other emerging technologies. But there is money to be made in going full speed
ahead, and that could undermine the U.S. government’s ability to take a
deliberate approach to fielding next-generation systems.

As we lay out in a new
issue brief
for the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, a handful
of leaders in the venture capital community—including firms like Founders Fund
and Andreesen Horowitz—have led the charge to throw billions in investment
funds at emerging tech start-up companies. How large these investments are is
not entirely clear, but figures cited
have ranged from $6 billion to over $100 billion in the past few years alone.
And that’s before Saudi Arabia concludes a proposed deal to work with Andreesen
Horowitz to invest $40
 in the A.I. sector, a move that should be carefully
scrutinized by Congress and executive branch regulators. 

The new V.C.-funded emerging tech sector is urging the
Pentagon to move rapidly to develop and deploy its products, pressing for
more funding, and, perhaps more importantly, less rigorous monitoring procedures
in the development of military uses for A.I. and other new technologies. And,
as The New York Times has reported,
Silicon Valley defense producers and funders are adopting traditional lobbying
methods to get their way, including the hiring of large numbers of former
military officers and senior government officials to go to bat for them in
Washington. There is a danger that the growing power of military-oriented V.C. firms and the companies they support will succeed in accelerating the process
of integrating emerging technologies into the U.S. military without adequate
safeguards, to the detriment of our safety and security.

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