The Militarization of Artificial Intelligence

Revolutionary technologies hold much promise for humanity. When taken up for military uses, they can affect international peace and security. The challenge is to build understanding among stakeholders about technology and develop responsive solutions to mitigate risks.

That’s where we might be today with military applications of artificial intelligence (AI).

Militaries are developing systems that use AI for missions ranging from logistics to decision support, command, and control, or even lethal force. Those capabilities seem to be advancing faster than discussions about what the risks might be – including if certain applications could raise safety concerns, stoke arms racing dynamics, or remove breakers to the outbreak of nuclear war.

The Stanley Center, the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, and the Stimson Center partnered in a workshop and series of papers to facilitate such a discussion among stakeholders. The workshop, held in August 2019 at UN Headquarters, involved experts from member states, industry, academia, and research institutions. These papers capture that conversation. They share assessments of the topic from US, Chinese, and Russian perspectives. In publishing them, we aim to help expand this dialogue to include more stakeholders.

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