Developing a Trusted Human-AI Network for Humanitarian Benefit

Journal of Digital War:TBD (forthcoming)
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Humans and artificial intelligences (AI) will increasingly participate digitally and physically in conflicts yet there is a lack of trusted communications across agents and platforms. For example, humans in disasters and conflict already use messaging and social media to share information, however, international humanitarian relief organisations treat this information as unverifiable and untrustworthy. AI may reduce the ‘fog-of-war’ and improve outcomes, however current AI implementations are often brittle, have a narrow scope of application and wide ethical risks. Meanwhile, human error causes significant civilian harms even by combatants committed to complying with international humanitarian law. AI offers an opportunity to help reduce the tragedy of war and better deliver humanitarian aid to those who need it. However, to be successful, these systems must be trusted by humans and their information systems, overcoming flawed information flows in conflict and disaster zones that continue to be marked by intermittent communications, poor situation awareness, mistrust and human errors. In this paper, we consider the integration of a communications protocol (the ‘Whiteflag protocol’), distributed ledger technology, and information fusion with artificial intelligence (AI), to improve conflict communications called “Protected Assurance Understanding Situation & Entities” PAUSE. Such a trusted human-AI communication network could provide accountable information exchange regarding protected entities, critical infrastructure; humanitarian signals and status updates for humans and machines in conflicts. Trust-based information fusion provides resource-efficient use of diverse data sources to increase the reliability of reports. AI can be used to catch human mistakes and complement human decision making, while human judgment can direct and override AI recommendations. We examine several case studies for the integration of these technologies into a trusted human-AI network for humanitarian benefit including mapping a conflict zone with civilians and combatants in real time, preparation to avoid incidents and using the network to manage misinformation.

Author's Profile

S. Kate Devitt
Trusted Autonomous Systems Defence CRC


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