The CSS Blog Network

Beyond Killer Robots: How Artificial Intelligence Can Improve Resilience in Cyber Space

Image courtesy of orihaus/Flickr. (CC BY 2.0)

This article was originally published by War on the Rocks on 6 September 2018.

Recently, one of us spent a week in China discussing the future of war with a group of American and Chinese academics. Everyone speculated about the role of artificial intelligence (AI), but, surprisingly, many Chinese participants equated AI almost exclusively with armies of killer robots.

Popular imagination and much of current AI scholarship tend to focus, understandably, on the more glamorous aspects of AI — the stuff of science fiction and the Terminator movies. While lethal and autonomous weapons have been a hot topic in recent years, this is only one aspect of war that will change as artificial intelligence becomes more sophisticated. As Michael Horowitz wrote in the Texas National Security Review, AI itself will not manifest just as a weapon; rather, it is an enabler that can support a broad spectrum of technologies. We agree: AI’s most substantial impacts are likely to fly under the radar in discussions about its potential. Therefore, a more holistic conversation should acknowledge AI’s potential effects in cyber space, not by facilitating cyber attacks, but rather by improving cyber security at scale through increased asset awareness and minimized source code vulnerabilities.

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Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Timeline

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This graphic provides a timeline on the development of the areas of focus for cooperation in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) since the 1990s. For more on the SCO, its current and future relevance, and whether Europe should engage with the organization, see Linda Maduz’s comprehensive study Flexibility by Design. For more CSS charts, maps and graphics, click here.

Why Cyberattacks Don’t Work as Weapons

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This article was originally published by ETH Zurich in the Zukunftsblog on 18 January 2018.

Cyberattacks must also be understood as a phenomenon of political violence and combated as such, says Myriam Dunn Cavelty.

Digitalisation will fundamentally alter many aspects of our lives – in many cases for the better. However, our increasing dependence on computers and networks for data exchange and storage is creating new vulnerabilities for both individuals and society. The key word here is: cybersecurity. This encompasses more than just technical solutions: it involves not only security in cyberspace, but also security that is influenced by cyberspace.

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The Changing Risk Landscape

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This graphic plots the change in the perceived likelihood and impact of various societal, technological, geopolitical and environmental risks between 2012 and 2018. For more on resilience and the evolution of deterrence, see Tim Prior’s chapter for Strategic Trends 2018 here. For more CSS charts, maps and graphics on risk and resilience, click here.

Cybersecurity: The China Problem

Image courtesy of Taskin Ashiq/Unsplash

This article was originally published by Pacific Forum CSIS on 27 June 2018.

As China rolls out its 2016 cyber security law, its drive to develop national cyberspace sovereignty continues. China’s law outlines a rules-based view of privacy and emphasizes critical infrastructure and domestic collection of citizen data. With the second largest economy in the world and the largest number of internet users, China has a tough task attempting to establish a national framework for cyber security while fostering an innovative technology sector. China is now a rule maker in cyberspace and home to a number of very large and highly capable technology companies. However, China’s lofty goals in cyberspace and innovation are undercut by its behavior in other countries.

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