Journal Article - Australian Journal of International Affairs

AI and the Decision to Go to War: Future Risks and Opportunities

| June 07, 2024

Note

This article is one of thirteen articles published as part of an Australian Journal of International Affairs Special Issue, Anticipating the Future of War: AI, Automated Systems, and Resort-to-Force Decision Making, guest edited by Toni Erskine and Steven E. Miller

ABSTRACT

This short article introduces our Special Issue on 'Anticipating the Future of War: AI, Automated Systems, and Resort-to-Force Decision Making'. We begin by stepping back and briefly commenting on the current military AI landscape. We then turn to the hitherto largely neglected prospect of AI-driven systems influencing state-level decision making on the resort to force. Although such systems already have a limited and indirect impact on decisions to initiate war, we contend that they will increasingly influence such deliberations in more direct ways — either in the context of automated self-defence or through decision-support systems that inform human deliberations. Citing the steady proliferation of AI-enabled systems in other realms of decision making, combined with the perceived need to match the capabilities of potential adversaries in what has aptly been described as an AI 'global arms race', we argue that this development is inevitable, will likely occur in the near future, and promises to be highly consequential. After surveying four thematic 'complications' that we associate with this anticipated development, we preview the twelve diverse, multidisciplinary, and often provocative articles that constitute this Special Issue. Each engages with one of our four complications and addresses a significant risk or benefit of AI-driven technologies infiltrating the decision to wage war.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Erskine, Toni and Steven E. Miller. AI and the Decision to Go to War: Future Risks and Opportunities.” Australian Journal of International Affairs, vol. 78. no. 2. (June 7, 2024):
135-147
.