The AI Commander: Centaur Teaming, Command, and Ethical Dilemmas

Research output: Book/ReportBook


What do emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) mean for the role of humans in war? This book addresses the largely neglected question of how the fusion of machines into the war machine will affect the human condition of warfare. James Johnson emphasizes the "mind" - both human and machine - and the mechanisms of thought (intelligence, consciousness, emotion, memory, experience, etc.) to consider the effects of AI and autonomy on the human condition of war. He specifically investigates the vexing and misunderstood - and at times contradictory - ethical, moral, and normative implications, whether incremental, transformative, or revolutionary, of synthesizing man and machine in future algorithmic warfare, or AI-enabled "centaur warfighting." At the heart of these vexing questions are whether we are inevitably moving toward a situation in which AI-enabled autonomous weapons will make strategic decisions in place of humans and thus become the owners of those decisions. Can AI-powered systems replace human commanders? And, more importantly, should they? The book's premise is that while the autonomy vs. humans discourse is a false dichotomy, a synthesis of the two is not necessarily a panacea: AI technologies cannot just be passive and neutral force multipliers of human cognition; instead, they will likely become strategic actors in war, whether by conscious choice or inadvertently. AI could transform the role and nature of human warfare, but not necessarily in the ways most observers currently expect.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages224
ISBN (Electronic)9780191996566
ISBN (Print)9780198892182
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2024


  • artificial intelligence
  • emerging technology
  • human-machine teaming
  • military ethics
  • military command
  • The AI Commander


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