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Report | 13 November 2023

AI and nuclear command, control and communications: P5 perspectives

As the nuclear-weapons states, China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, are increasingly recognising the implications of integrating AI into nuclear weapons command, control, and communication systems, this report – by ELN Research Coordinator Alice Saltini – explores the risks inherent in today’s advanced AI systems, sheds light on characteristics and risks across different branches of this technology, and establishes the basis for a general purpose risk assessment framework.

Exploring the risks inherent to today’s advanced AI systems, this report sheds light on characteristics and risks across different branches of this technology. Alice Saltini

The report offers a series of recommendations to help mitigate the risks of integrating AI into NC3 systems, including:

  • Nuclear-weapon states should agree to swiftly impose a moratorium on the integration of high-risk AI models. The report establishes the basis for a framework to assess the risks stemming from different types of AI models, which can be used to establish the norms and thresholds for this moratorium. This halt should remain in place until a comprehensive risk framework is developed and agreed-upon, which would inform the establishment of norms.
  • For AI models that do not carry the same high-level risks, bilateral initiatives at the track-1 level should revolve around the retention of human control over nuclear systems. Concurrently, track-2 dialogue should delve into technical subjects, such as practical ways to assure human oversight.

This report is part of the ELN project “Examining the impact of artificial intelligence on strategic stability: European and P5 perspectives, supported by the US Department of State’s Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, looking a how nuclear-weapon states are using and seeking to use AI technologies in their NC3 systems and addresses the repercussions of such integration.

Read the report

The opinions articulated above represent the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the European Leadership Network or all of its members. The ELN’s aim is to encourage debates that will help develop Europe’s capacity to address the pressing foreign, defence, and security policy challenges of our time.

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