Technology, Power & Security AI and International Stability: Risks and Confidence-Building Measures

January 12, 2021
By Michael Horowitz and Paul Scharre | Center for a New American Security

Militaries around the world believe that the integration of machine learning methods throughout their forces could improve their effectiveness. From algorithms to aid in recruiting and promotion, to those designed for surveillance and early warning, to those used directly on the battlefield, applications of artificial intelligence (AI) could shape the future character of warfare. These uses could also generate significant risks for international stability. These risks relate to broad facets of AI that could shape warfare, limits to machine learning methods that could increase the risks of inadvertent conflict, and specific mission areas, such as nuclear operations, where the use of AI could be dangerous.

To reduce these risks and promote international stability, we explore the potential use of confidence-building measures (CBMs), constructed around the shared interests that all countries have in preventing inadvertent war. Though not a panacea, CBMs could create standards for information-sharing and notifications about AI-enabled systems that make inadvertent conflict less likely.

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