Artificial Intelligence and Nuclear Security: A Fine Balance

As technology continues on high trajectory of innovation, artificial intelligence (AI) is gaining more and more interest as a critical component of future systems. Experts are now considering the long-term potential ramifications of AI on nuclear security. A recent RAND Corporation report addresses this issue and tackles the question of how AI could upset the nuclear strategic balance:

“Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) are enabling previously infeasible capabilities, potentially destabilizing the delicate balances that have forestalled nuclear war since 1945. Will these developments upset the nuclear strategic balance, and, if so, for better or for worse?”

The report, titled “How Might Artificial Intelligence Affect the Risk of Nuclear War?” addresses the potential for AI to enable a range of tasks previously unavailable due to technology limitations, as well as how these new capabilities may throw off the current balances preventing nuclear war. The report covers a series of RAND-hosted workshops on AI and nuclear security issues through the year 2040. The workshops resulted in the identification of two major anticipated concerns and benefits: AI for detection, tracking, and targeting; and AI for use in an advisory role in escalation decisions.

Nonregistered users may access the report here. The HSDL offers many similar resources. Visit the Featured Topics for more on Cyber Crime & National Security, Cyber Policy, Electronic Surveillance, Interoperability, and Unmanned Systems.