A new RAND Corporation paper finds that artificial intelligence has the potential to upend the foundations of nuclear deterrence by the year 2040.
While AI-controlled doomsday machines are considered unlikely, the hazards of artificial intelligence for nuclear security lie instead in its potential to encourage humans to take potentially apocalyptic risks, according to the paper.
During the Cold War, the condition of mutual assured destruction maintained an uneasy peace between the superpowers by ensuring that any attack would be met by a devastating retaliation. Mutual assured destruction thereby encouraged strategic stability by reducing the incentives for either country to take actions that might escalate into a nuclear war.
The new RAND paper says that in coming decades, artificial intelligence has the potential to erode the condition of mutual assured destruction and undermine strategic stability. Improved sensor technologies could introduce the possibility that retaliatory forces such as submarine and mobile missiles could be targeted and destroyed.
Nations may be tempted to pursue first-strike capabilities as a means of gaining bargaining leverage over their rivals even if they have no intention of carrying out an attack, researchers say. This undermines strategic stability because even if the state possessing these capabilities has no intention of using them, the adversary cannot be sure of that.
“The connection between nuclear war and artificial intelligence is not new, in fact the two have an intertwined history,” said Edward Geist, co-author on the paper and associate policy researcher at the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization. “Much of the early development of AI was done in support of military efforts or with military objectives in mind.”
He said one example of such work was the Survivable Adaptive Planning Experiment in the 1980s that sought to use AI to translate reconnaissance data into nuclear targeting plans.
Under fortuitous circumstances, artificial intelligence also could enhance strategic stability by improving accuracy in intelligence collection and analysis, according to the paper. While AI might increase the vulnerability of second-strike forces, improved analytics for monitoring and interpreting adversary actions could reduce miscalculation or misinterpretation that could lead to unintended escalation.
Researchers say that given future improvements, it is possible that eventually AI systems will develop capabilities that, while fallible, would be less error-prone than their human alternatives and therefore be stabilizing in the long term.
“Some experts fear that an increased reliance on artificial intelligence can lead to new types of catastrophic mistakes,” said Andrew Lohn, co-author on the paper and associate engineer at RAND. “There may be pressure to use AI before it is technologically mature, or it may be susceptible to adversarial subversion. Therefore, maintaining strategic stability in coming decades may prove extremely difficult and all nuclear powers must participate in the cultivation of institutions to help limit nuclear risk.”
RAND researchers based their paper on information collected during a series of workshops with experts in nuclear issues, government branches, AI research, AI policy and national security.
Learn more: By 2040, Artificial Intelligence Could Upend Nuclear Stability
The Latest on: Nuclear stability
via Google News
The Latest on: Nuclear stability
- Dawn Of Cruise Missiles And Deterrence Stability In South Asia – OpEd on December 15, 2018 at 6:19 pm
So far, India has not officially accepted that BrahMos is tipped with nuclear warhead, when it will be used in submarines and ships which are causing ambiguity in already volatile South Asian strategi... […]
- Will artificial intelligence undermine nuclear stability? on November 23, 2018 at 11:31 am
Artificial intelligence and nuclear war have been fiction clichés for decades. Today’s AI is impressive to be sure, but specialized, and remains a far cry from computers that become self-aware and tur... […]
- Will disruptive technology cause nuclear war? on November 12, 2018 at 11:42 am
Recently, analysts have argued that emerging technologies with military applications may undermine nuclear stability (see here, here, and here), but the logic of these arguments is debatable and overl... […]
- South Asian Nuclear Stability: Anticipations And Fear – OpEd on October 7, 2018 at 5:10 pm
The advent of Nuclear weapons in the International system preserved peace and security by maintaining nuclear deterrent capability. In South Asian framework, India and Pakistan thrive to get the statu... […]
- Nuclear stability could be threatened by AI, report suggests on April 24, 2018 at 5:36 am
A report by the RAND Corporation has found that advances in artificial intelligence (AI) could shake up the conditions which ensure nuclear stability by 2040. This threat does not arise from the possi... […]
- India, Pakistan, and the Bomb: Debating Nuclear Stability in South Asia on January 9, 2018 at 6:31 pm
Despatched in 2 business days. In May 1998, India and Pakistan put to rest years of speculation as to whether they possessed nuclear technology and openly tested their weapons. Some believed nucleariz... […]
- Nuclear Stability, Conventional Instability: North Korea and the Lessons From Pakistan on November 22, 2017 at 6:42 am
Earlier this month, an anonymous senior U.S. administration official offered an explanation for why North Korea pursued nuclear weapons. “North Korea’s goal is not to simply acquire these horrific wea... […]
- Nuclear Stability, Conventional Instability: North Korea and the Lessons from Pakistan on November 20, 2017 at 12:04 am
Editor’s Note: This is the twelfth installment of “Southern (Dis)Comfort,” a new series from War on the Rocks and the Stimson Center. The series seeks to unpack the dynamics of intensifying competitio... […]
- War of the Words: North Korea, Trump, and Strategic Stability on August 10, 2017 at 1:22 am
The general notion of mutually assured destruction and the related idea of nuclear stability — that states don’t use strategic nuclear weapons because it would be mutually suicidal to do so — requires ... […]
via Bing News