Robotic Virtue, Military Ethics Education, and the Need for Proper Storytellers

Front cover of Conatus 8, no. 2
Published: Dec 31, 2023
artificial intelligence virtue narratives prudence fear
Henrik Syse
Martin Cook

The introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) challenges much of our traditional understanding of military ethics. What virtues and what sort of ethics education are needed as we move into an ever more AI-driven military reality? In this article we suggest and discuss key virtues that are needed, including the virtue of prudence and the accompanying virtue of good and proper storytelling. We also reflect on the ideal of “explainable AI,” and philosophize about the role of fear in helping us understand what is actually at stake in a military infused with AI-enabled and AI-driven weapons.

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Author Biographies
Henrik Syse, Peace Research Institute Oslo, Norway

Dr. Henrik Syse is Research Professor at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Oslo New University College. He is author and editor of many books and articles. He has been a member of the Norwegian Academy of Language and Literature since 2010 and served a full six-year term from 2015 to 2020 as a member of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, which awards the Nobel Peace Prize, serving as its Vice Chair 2017-2020. Henrik's publications span the fields of philosophy, politics, business, religion, war, and ethics. He holds a Doctorate in moral philosophy from the University of Oslo, a Master of Arts degree in political philosophy from Boston College, and a Bachelor’s degree in languages and philosophy from the University of Oslo.

Martin Cook, U.S. Naval War College, United States

Dr. Martin L. Cook retired from the U.S. Naval War College in 2017 as the Admiral Stockdale Professor of Professional Military Ethics. He now holds that title as an Emeritus Professor. Dr. Cook was previously Professor and Deputy Department Head in the Philosophy Department at the US Air Force Academy, and the Elihu Root Professor of Military Studies and Professor of Ethics at the US Army War College. In his earlier career, he was tenured at Santa Clara University, and taught at Gustavus Adolphus College, The College of William and Mary, and St. John's College in Santa Fe. He was selected for the Fulbright Program Specialist roster for 2018-2021. Dr. Cook received his Ph.D. and M.A. from the University of Chicago and his B.A. Magna Cum Laude from the University of Illinois.

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