The Risks That AI Poses for Nuclear Decision-Making: End of an Era

Monday, Nov. 13, 2023
12:30 noon—1:30 p.m., U.S. Eastern Time

Rapid advancements in technology put artificial intelligence (AI) at the heart of discussions concerning nuclear strategy, especially among nuclear-weapon states. With these states exploring the nexus of AI and nuclear decision-making, the stakes are high.

This joint event, co-hosted by the European Leadership Network (ELN) and the Arms Control Association (ACA), presented the main findings of a new ELN research report on "Examining the impact of artificial intelligence on strategic stability: European and P5 perspectives,” based on the findings of a research project sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.

Presenters included:

  • Alice Saltini, Research Coordinator, European Leadership Network
  • Matthew Sharp, Director of the Office of Multilateral and Nuclear Affairs, U.S. Department of State
  • Tom McKane, ELN Member; Former Director General for Strategy and Security Policy, U.K. Ministry of Defence
  • Shannon Bugos, Senior Policy Analyst, Arms Control Association, moderator
  • Jane Kinninmont, Policy & Impact Director, European Leadership Network, moderator

The session explored questions including:  

  • How does the integration of AI into nuclear weapons decision-making compare as a policy and practice between the nuclear-weapon states?
  • All nuclear-weapon states accept the need to keep a "human in the loop" on any decision to use a nuclear weapon, but do they really mean the same thing, and what are the repercussions of differing interpretations?
  • What immediate steps can the nuclear-weapon states take to lessen the risks associated with the intersection of AI and nuclear decision-making?