Facts and Analysis
According to Phil Stewart for Reuters, the U.S. Pentagon would be carrying out an array of research in various artificial intelligence (AI) systems aiming at anticipating nuclear missile launches and thus better protecting the U.S.
The aim would be to allow for very early detection, for example through tracking very weak signals, to permit developing appropriate response across government, including diplomatically.
Our ongoing series: The Future Artificial Intelligence – Powered World
“Some officials believe elements of the AI missile program could become viable in the early 2020s”.
Only one such research effort – among the host of those endeavoured – could be identified in next year budget as reaching $83 million, i.e. tripled compared with previous budgets.
Considering lingering or heightening fears to see the use of AI entering the nuclear weapons field, and precipitating nuclear havoc, final decision about action would remain vested in humans.
As a result, and as foreseen, the AI-power race takes shape and spreads. Furthermore, this is an example of how this AI-power race is increasingly likely to be played out, including in the conventional security field, indeed in terms of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). Once these AI systems are operational, strategy and doctrine will have to be revised. AI-capabilities in terms of nuclear missile launch detection may deeply alter the idea of Mutually Assured Destruction, while revisiting preemptive strikes: those benefiting from AI-systems may have such a superior advantage in terms of preemption, that the very possibility of retaliation could be denied or greatly reduce. Balance of Power would then be fundamentally altered.
Source and Signal
Original article on Reuters: The Pentagon has a secret AI program to find hidden nuclear missiles
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. military is increasing spending on a secret research effort to use artificial intelligence to help anticipate the launch of a nuclear-capable missile, as well as track and target mobile launchers in North Korea and elsewhere.
Selected Related Bibliography
Edward Geist, Andrew J. Lohn, How Might Artificial Intelligence Affect the Risk of Nuclear War?, Rand, April 2018.
Featured image: Pentagon satellite image, [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.