Issue Brief on “Artificial Intelligence and Nuclear Weapons: Way to the Future or Path to Disaster?”

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Artificial intelligence (AI) is a revolutionary technology that is taking over everyday facets of life, from Chat GPT to healthcare, education, agriculture, social media, advertising, customer service, financial services,[1] and transport. However, it is revolutionizing warfare and defence. Major world powers have already begun the race to induct AI into modern warfare. At the moment it is being used in a limited manner by perhaps giving algorithms control over individual weapons or drone swarms. However, it is fast-talking over aspects of modern warfare. As Pakistan’s representative to the UN expressed concern: “We are standing at the cusp of a new arms race, where algorithms would be in the driving seat. As AI heads to the battlefield, it is reasonable to ask whether and to what extent humans would continue to control it and hold the ‘off switch’.”[2] Given the increasing prevalence of AI in all facets of life including warfare and defence, it is pertinent to examine what role, if any, it can play in nuclear deterrence and future nuclear postures.

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