The CSS Blog Network

The Iterative Relationship between Technology and International Security

Image courtesy of Steve Jurvetson/Flickr. (CC BY 2.0)

This article was originally published by the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) on 17 October 2019.

Scientific breakthroughs and technological innovations are often subject to public discussion about their capacity to affect international security, either by their military exploitation or their uptake and re-appropriation through non-state actors and terrorists. While accompanying proliferation and militarisation concerns are not new, the challenge of governing emerging technologies is as much about their often-unknown technical affordances as the way in which they capture the imagination of innovators, policy-makers, and public communities.

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Diplomacy in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

Image courtesy of Steve Jurvetson/Flickr. (CC BY 2.0)

This article was originally published by the Elcano Royal Institute on 11 October 2019.

Theme

The key question on the mind of policymakers now is whether Artificial Intelligence would be able to deliver on its promises instead of entering another season of scepticism and stagnation.

Summary

The quest for Artificial Intelligence (AI) has travelled through multiple “seasons of hope and despair” since the 1950s. The introduction of neural networks and deep learning in late 1990s has generated a new wave of interest in AI and growing optimism in the possibility of applying it to a wide range of activities, including diplomacy. The key question on the mind of policymakers now is whether AI would be able to deliver on its promises instead of entering another season of scepticism and stagnation. This paper evaluates the potential of AI to provide reliable assistance in areas of diplomatic interest such as in consular services, crisis management, public diplomacy and international negotiations, as well as the ratio between costs and contributions of AI applications to diplomatic work.

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Now I Know My ABCs: US-China Policy on AI, Big Data, and Cloud Computing

Image courtesy of M Woods

This publication was originally published by the East-West Center in September 2019.

Summary

Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, and Cloud Computing (ABC) have generated unprecedented opportunities and challenges for economic competitiveness, national security, and law and order, as well as the future of work. ABC policies and practices have become contentious issues in U.S.-China bilateral relations. Pundits see a U.S.-China AI race and are already debating which country will win. Kaifu Lee, the CEO of Sinovation Ventures, believes that China will exceed the United States in AI in about five years.1 Others argue that China will never catch up.2 This essay focuses on two issues: the comparative ABC strengths of the United States and China in data and research and development (R&D); and the emerging ABC policies and practices in the two nations. Empirical analysis suggests that the United States and China lead in different areas. Compared to China’s top-down, whole-of-government, national- strategy approach, the U.S. ABC policy has been less articulated but is evolving.

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Have Strategists Drunk the “AI Race” Kool-Aid?

Image courtesy of Ecole polytechnique/Flickr. (CC BY-SA 2.0)

This article was originally published by War on the Rocks on 4 June 2019.

Has global strategic competition become a race for dominance in artificial intelligence (AI) between the United States and China? Versions of this claim have become something of an axiom, offered by officialdom and the analytical community alike. That AI will be the primary axis of future strategic competition is contestable, however. Moreover, the notion of an AI race in and of itself will generate policy risk. Making policy based on those assumptions could lead to narrowing options, not only in the realm of competition between states but regarding human affairs in general.

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A Politically Neutral Hub for AI Research

Image courtesy of Geralt/Pixabay

This article was originally published by the ETH Zukunftsblog on 24 May 2019. 

The growing politicisation of AI harbours risks. Sophie-Charlotte Fischer and Andreas Wenger propose a hub for AI research in Switzerland committed to the responsible development of the new technologies.

The surge of progress in Artificial Intelligence (AI) over the last few years has been driven primarily by economic market forces and the manifold commercial applications. Large global technology companies, particularly in the US and China, lead the field in AI. Yet this concentration of AI resources in a few private corporations is increasingly undercutting the competitiveness of public research institutions and smaller companies. Such oligopolistic market dynamics threaten to exacerbate existing economic and social inequalities.

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