AI in IR?

What is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is not a singular field of study. Rather it refers to a variety of algorithm-based machines and processes which can act autonomously, learning as they do so through machine learning (ML) and in so doing appear to mimic the cognitive as well as behavioural patterns of human beings. Because of its applications to robotics and the internet of things (IoT), and its use of big data, AI has been seen as a central foundation of the fourth industrial revolution (the age of ubiquity of new forms of technology and the convergence of the physical and the digital spheres). The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) observes that AI has been among the fastest-growing tech sectors, both in terms of patents and investment, with massive upticks in funding coming from governments and (even more) from the private sectors. At the AI in IR Project, we believe that AI has many and growing implications for the diplomatic, military, and economic modes of global interaction with outcomes already being noted in autonomous weapons deployments, patterns of global investment, disruptions in global value chains, and even FIFA tournaments. COVID-19 has also demonstrated the ample potential carried by AI for global pandemic prediction and mitigation. Importantly, AI still has many limitations, meaning that many of its applications and implications still await us in the future. We believe that these require concerted study and understanding.

Artificial Intelligence and International Relations

Many developments in today’s international relations do not escape the advances being made in the field of AI. From military operations to discussions of a ‘Digital Geneva Convention’ and environmental protection, the world is increasingly being shaped by the expanding applications of AI.

The aim of this website is to catalogue and index, and in so doing assist academics, researchers, students, writers and general enthusiasts of applied AI and its role in our world to share and derive new understandings of developments in AI through international relations and global economic lenses.

The core questions running through the platform are as follows:

• What has been the historic role of technology in international interaction?
• What is the magnitude of the changes taking place in AI-related technological sectors worldwide?
• How do advances in artificial intelligence interact with International Relations theories?
• Why are some societies more innovative than others?
• What is the role of policy in driving technological revolutions?
• What new scenarios does the Fourth Industrial Revolution bring about in the international arena?
• Will the Fourth Industrial Revolution exacerbate, transform or complement the existent pathways of inequality within and between countries?

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