The Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (SIIS) and the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), through its Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, jointly hosted an event in Shanghai, China, examining the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in reshaping national security. The event took place over the course of two days, concluding on 18 December.
Although AI can be an instrument for great positive change, for instance in supporting the international community to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, it can equally represent a disruptive technology – particularly from the perspective of national security. Security, agencies, including law enforcement and defense forces, across the globe are already looking into AI applications and concerns have been raised about the potential for the malicious use of AI by criminals and terrorist groups to carry out digital or physical attacks targeting civilians, political systems and governmental entities.
During the meeting, 30 experts, including representatives from government, private sector, academia and civil society, discussed important questions related to the challenges and opportunities AI presents for national security; the malicious use of AI and AI weapons; the role of AI in law enforcement; current geopolitics in the AI world and the dangers of an AI arms race; the importance of building multi-stakeholder cooperation; and the social and economic impact of automation on national security.
Dr. Dongxiao Chen, President of the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (SIIS) noted that “UNICRI and SIIS have co-organized a historical event focusing on how AI reshapes national security. The meeting is an important entry point to further understand international relations in today’s world. It also reflects the important role that national security is playing in the development of AI technologies.” Mr. Irakli Beridze, UNICRI Centre for AI and Robotics, added that “this was the first such international multi-stakeholder discussion on AI and national security. We hope that this discussion could stimulate a broader debate and encourage stakeholders to engage in an open and constructive dialogue.”