AI-enabled remote warfare: sustaining the western Warfare paradigm?

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    The most prominent feature of Western approaches to warfare in recent decades has been the centrality of precision-strike systems and related capabilities—most notably unmanned platforms—for delivering lethal force with ever-greater remoteness. Comparative advantages derived from this ‘remote warfare’ are waning due to competitors’ partial adoption of precision weapon systems and the development of countermeasures. Analyses by military experts and technology enthusiasts in the West propose that Artificial Intelligence (AI), properly harnessed, will soon resuscitate former advantages derived from remote warfare, which have been subject to diminishing returns. The assumptions underpinning this conclusion, however, rest on weaker ground than is claimed. First, AI boosters—unwittingly or otherwise—frequently overstate the near-term impact of AI on important aspects of remote warfare, downplaying enduring technological challenges, and overlooking vulnerabilities associated with greater reliance on AI-enabled systems. Furthermore, it is far from clear whether over the longer-term AI will enhance and entrench the central aspects of remote warfare. Indeed, the technology may lean toward methods of warfare antithetical to the Western warfare paradigm, such as mass over precision or the widespread deployment of lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS).

    Original languageBritish English
    JournalInternational Politics
    StateAccepted/In press - 2021


    • Artificial intelligence (AI)
    • Autonomous systems
    • Precision
    • Remote warfare
    • Technology hype


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