COPAIR webinar: Nuclear Deterrence in the Age of Artificial Intelligence


Islamabad: Center of Pakistan and International Relations (COPAIR) hosted a webinar on the developments of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the military affairs and its implications on the nuclear deterrence of nation-states. This webinar was aimed to gather insights from the academic and technical experts of AI and devise a comprehensive report, which will be assisting the policymakers working on national security, science and technology, ethics and regulations of emerging technologies. A diverse panel was convened to discuss the critical subject, where Dr Emmanuel Goffi from Paris, Amna Malik from Pakistan, and Dr Ansgar from United Kingdom participated and delivered their riveting talks. Eminent policymakers, members of diplomatic circle, military and academic community participated in the session and asked questions pertaining to the national and individual security emanating from the incorporation of Artificial Intelligence in military and intelligence affairs of nation-states.


Awais Siddique was the moderator of the session who set the baseline of the event by delineating the revolution in military affairs, with a special focus on AI as the force-multiplier and challenger of prevalent nuclear deterrence. He also shared the concerns of nuclear escalation in South Asian region and requested panelists to share the case studies of developed countries in tackling the insecurities erupting from the incorporation of AI in military sphere.


Dr Emmanuel Goffi, an Expert in ethics of artificial intelligence from Paris was the first speaker of the session; he talked about the Ethical Normative Framework of AI. In his presentation, Dr Emmanuel said that all the governments are taking different approaches to promote the development of same technology. While quoting a fact, he said that the utility of AI in armament is ever growing and in 2026, AI military market will be worth 13 billion USD, but at the same time, the role of ethics is questionable because stakeholders do not adhere to same ethical values and it is not a priority for all governments. He recommended that the ethical regulations of AI should be local and not cosmetic as long as they pertain to national security.


Dr Ansgar Koene, Global AI Ethics and Regulatory Leader at EY and Senior Research Fellow at the University of Nottingham, UK, enlightened the participants about the basic functioning of AI and its potential uses related to national security and prospects of AI use in surveillance, analysis of text, threat assessment, counter-intelligence, lethal autonomous weapons etc. He was of view that the prospects of AI are changing the conventional payload delivery methods raising serious concerns in the realm of nuclear deterrence and the safety of critical systems. While discussing the AI International regulations he said that western forums are working on them but we are hopeful that the voices of global south will also be included in these global initiatives. He recommended that we need to become more specific in AI regulations.


Ms Amna Malik, President COPAIR concluded the session with her interactive discussion while sharing the initiatives of COPAIR and providing her recommendations on the subject. She said that Dominant military powers like the USA, China and Russia are harnessing the nascent technology of AI for their military modernization and advancing its utility for defence purposes, such as intelligence gathering and analysis, logistics, AI based weapon platforms, etc. Furthering her point, Ms Amna added that hand there is no doubt that AI developments and its military use will heighten the probability of technology exploitation for threatening the adversarial nuclear forces and escalating tensions. She stressed that keeping the nuclear peace in a time of such technological advances will require the cooperation of every nuclear power in the domain of emerging technologies especially AI and its use as a weapon. She also emphasized for building new global institutions and agreements especially among the rival states, which ensure the military safeguards and pave path for confidence building measures.

This session was part of the series of conferences COPAIR has been hosting from last two years and it will result in the form of policy recommendations which will be provided to the national security-related public institutions.


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