Cold War 2 fears: Artificial intelligence the ‘weapon of choice’ in fresh global arms race

Tuesday, January 30, 2018
By Paul Martin

ARTIFICIAL intelligence (AI) has now become the “weapon of choice” amid escalating tensions in the world, according to a technology expert. In a chilling warning, he believes “the world may be entering – or perhaps already in – another cold war, fuelled by AI”.

Tue, Jan 30, 2018

Jeremy Straub – an assistant professor at North Dakota State University – believes that despite the US and Russia decommissioning thousands of nuclear weapons, artificial intelligence (AI) could be a new threat – and he is not alone.

He added: “Now, more than 30 years after the end of the Cold War, the US and Russia have decommissioned tens of thousands of nuclear weapons.

“However, tensions are growing. Any modern-day cold war would include cyberattacks and nuclear powers’ involvement in allies’ conflicts. It’s already happening.”

While the world has various nuclear weapons treaties, Mr Staub claims “cyber weapons particularly those powered by AI, are still considered fair game by both sides”.

AI systems also have “rapid decision-making capabilities” that are “faster than humans can comprehend”.

Mr Straub, writing for The Conservation, said: “In case of an attack, the AI could act more quickly and without the potential hesitation or dissent of a human operator.

“A fast, automated response capability could help ensure potential adversaries know a nation is ready and willing to launch, the key to mutual assured destruction‘s effectiveness as a deterrent.

“AI can also be used to control non-nuclear weapons including unmanned vehicles like drones and cyber weapons.

“AI-coordinated attacks can launch cyber or real-world weapons almost instantly, making the decision to attack before a human even notices a reason to. AI systems can change targets and techniques faster than humans can comprehend, much less analyse.

“For instance, an AI system might launch a drone to attack a factory, observe drones responding to defend, and launch a cyberattack on those drones, with no noticeable pause.”

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