Artificial intelligence and the future of warfare

The USA, China, and strategic stability

James Johnson
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Artificial intelligence and the future of warfare offers an innovative and counter-intuitive study of how and why AI-infused weapon systems will affect the strategic stability between nuclear-armed states. The book demystifies the hype surrounding AI in the context of nuclear weapons and, more broadly, future warfare. It highlights the potential, multifaceted intersections of this and other disruptive technology – robotics and autonomy, cyber, drone swarming, big-data analytics, and quantum communications – with nuclear stability. Anticipating and preparing for the consequences of the AI-empowered weapon systems is, therefore, fast becoming a critical task for national security and statecraft. The book considers the impact of these trends on deterrence, military escalation, and strategic stability between nuclear-armed states – especially China and the US. Surprisingly little research considers how AI might affect nuclear-armed states’ perceptions of others’ intentions, rational choices, or strategic decision-making psychology. The book addresses these topics and more. It provides penetrating, nuanced, and valuable insights grounded in the latest multi-disciplinary research. The book draws on a wealth of political and cognitive science, strategic studies, and technical analysis to shed light on the coalescence of developments in AI and other disruptive emerging technologies. It sketches a clear picture of the potential impact of AI on the digitized battlefield and broadens our understanding of critical questions for international affairs. AI will profoundly change how wars are fought, and how decision-makers think about nuclear deterrence, escalation management, and strategic stability – but not for the reasons you might think.

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