Impact on Issues and Uncertainties

➚➚ Escalating AI-power race notably between the U.S. on the one hand, China and in a lesser way Russia on the other.

➚➚ Redrawing of the power map of the world along AI-power status lines

➚➚ Rising uncertainty regarding the emerging AI-world

Possible widening of the range of response, including non lethal one to nuclear threat
➚ Need to revise and rethink nuclear deterrence, nuclear preemptive strikes

➚ Rebalance of nuclear power according to presence or not of efficient nuclear missile launch detection AI-systems

U.S.  influence and capability in terms of A.I.
➚➚ U.S. influence becoming possibly unchecked
➚ U.S. capability to stem a possible decline and as a result
➘ U.S. feeling threatened, which is possibly a factor of global stabilisation

 Potential for escalating tension U.S. – China

Facts and Analysis

According to Phil Stewart for Reuters, the U.S. Pentagon would be carrying out an array of research in various artificial intelligence  (AI) systems aiming at anticipating nuclear missile launches and thus better protecting the U.S.

The aim would be to allow for very early detection, for example through tracking very weak signals, to permit developing appropriate response across government, including diplomatically.


Our ongoing series: The Future Artificial Intelligence – Powered World

“Some officials believe elements of the AI missile program could become viable in the early 2020s”.

Only one such research effort – among the host of those endeavoured – could be identified in next year budget as reaching $83 million, i.e. tripled compared with previous budgets.

Considering lingering or heightening fears to see the use of AI entering the nuclear weapons field, and precipitating nuclear havoc, final decision about action would remain vested in humans.

As a result, and as foreseen, the AI-power race takes shape and spreads. Furthermore, this is an example of how this AI-power race is increasingly likely to be played out, including in the conventional security field, indeed in terms of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). Once these AI systems are operational, strategy and doctrine will have to be revised. AI-capabilities in terms of nuclear missile launch detection may deeply alter the idea of Mutually Assured Destruction, while revisiting preemptive strikes: those benefiting from AI-systems may have such a superior advantage in terms of preemption, that the very possibility of retaliation could be denied or greatly reduce. Balance of Power would then be fundamentally altered.

Source and Signal

Original article on Reuters: The Pentagon has a secret AI program to find hidden nuclear missiles

Deep in the Pentagon, a secret AI program to find hidden nuclear…

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. military is increasing spending on a secret research effort to use artificial intelligence to help anticipate the launch of a nuclear-capable missile, as well as track and target mobile launchers in North Korea and elsewhere.


Selected Related Bibliography

Edward Geist, Andrew J. Lohn, How Might Artificial Intelligence Affect the Risk of Nuclear War?, Rand, April 2018.


Featured image: Pentagon satellite image, [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Published by Dr Helene Lavoix (MSc PhD Lond)

Dr Helene Lavoix, PhD Lond (International Relations), is the President/CEO of The Red Team Analysis Society. She is specialised in strategic foresight and warning for international relations, national and international security issues. Her current focus is on the war in Ukraine, international order and the rise of China, the overstepping of planetary boundaries and international relations, the methodology of SF&W, radicalisation as well as new tech and security.

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