Michael C. Horowitz, professor of political science and the associate director of Perry World House, will lead a research team that has been awarded a $1.04 million grant from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, through the Department of Defense (DoD) Minerva Initiative, for a project titled “The Disruptive Effects of Autonomy: Ethics, Trust and Organizational Decision-Making.”
Dr. Horowitz will oversee the study of the effects of autonomous systems and artificial intelligence. The Minerva program is specifically designed to facilitate social science research relevant for national security. The Penn team will collaborate with researchers from the University of Denver, the Naval War College and Yale.
The project seeks to understand the human, organizational and political factors that could affect the willingness of individuals and bureaucracies to adopt autonomous systems, and the potential consequences of these attitudes. In addition, the team will work to advance knowledge about the potential consequences of autonomous systems for DoD policy and the modern battlefield, as well as shed light on how other actors—both state and non-state—will incorporate autonomous systems.