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  • Context (IE): The lack of a unified global framework for overseeing AI, coupled with the absence of national-level regulatory measures, poses a significant risk to national security and sovereignty.
  • I, Robot, a collection of nine short stories by science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov, also underscores the same issue.
    • The book examines the moral and ethical issues related to robotics and artificial intelligence.
    • The book highlights the importance of ethical standards and security measures in AI development.

Characteristics of AI posing challenges

  • Algorithms used in AI are devoid of national allegiance or moral judgment.
  • The borderless nature of AI.
  • Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS) can act independently.
  • AI systems might get hacked, causing big problems.
  • AI can act unpredictably.
  • AI can do advanced cyberattacks.

Why AI is a threat to National Security?

AI is changing the idea of sovereignty

  • Traditional laws don’t control new digital spaces created by AI.
  • This shift affects how countries handle their digital areas and AI.
  • Nations with less AI development might depend on advanced ones, risking control in areas like defence and healthcare.
  • Also, power is moving from countries to private tech and individuals in these digital spaces, challenging state authority and potentially changing global politics.

AI can impact democracy

  • Foreign powers can use AI to manipulate information and influence public opinion.
  • It has the potential to generate large-scale disinformation, triggering tensions and electoral conflicts.
  • Foreign powers can use AI for sophisticated influence campaigns, making divisions worse and weakening democratic systems.
  • It could be misused by authoritarian regimes, terrorists, and organised crime groups, causing significant harm.

Threats due to Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS)

  • Equipped with advanced AI, these systems (LAWS) can act independently, potentially leading to unintended conflicts and targeting errors.
  • There’s a risk of hacking or malfunctions, causing catastrophic incidents.
  • Ethically, the use of LAWS challenges humanitarian principles by lacking human oversight.
  • The reliance on algorithms may risk civilian lives and violate international norms.
  • The proliferation of LAWS could trigger an arms race, increasing warfare accessibility and undermining global peace.
  • Lack of regulation allows non-state actors to use these systems for terrorism or insurgency.

AI’s potential for sophisticated cyberattacks poses a direct threat to national security

  • AI-powered methods like advanced persistent threats and spear phishing can disrupt critical infrastructures, risking the stability and functioning of a state.
  • These disruptions not only pose immediate security risks but also threaten the economic and social well-being of nations.
  • The challenges extend beyond physical borders, as cyberattacks can originate from anywhere, making it challenging to safeguard national interests.

Way forward

  • There is an urgent need for a strong global AI governance body to ensure its developments benefit humanity.
  • Additionally, it is crucial to develop and update national regulations specifically addressing AI’s unique threats to sovereignty and national security.
  • Nations need to reassess their cybersecurity strategies and invest in advanced defences to safeguard against AI-enhanced threats.
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