Artificial Intelligence and Foreign Policy

Paper by Ben ScottStefan Heumann and Philppe Lorenz: “The plot-lines of the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) are debated and contested. But it is safe to predict that it will become one of the central technologies of the 21st century. It is fashionable these days to speak about data as the new oil. But if we want to “refine” the vast quantities of data we are collecting today and make sense of it, we will need potent AI. The consequences of the AI revolution could not be more far reaching. Value chains will be turned upside down, labor markets will get disrupted and economic power will shift to those who control this new technology. And as AI is deeply embedded in the connectivity of the Internet, the challenge of AI is global in nature. Therefore it is striking that AI is almost absent from the foreign policy agenda.

This paper seeks to provide a foundation for planning a foreign policy strategy that responds effectively to the emerging power of AI in international affairs. The developments in AI are so dynamic and the implications so wide-ranging that ministries need to begin engaging immediately. That means starting with the assets and resources at hand while planning for more significant changes in the future. Many of the tools of traditional diplomacy can be adapted to this new field. While the existing toolkit can get us started, this pragmatic approach does not preclude thinking about more drastic changes that the technological changes might require for our foreign policy institutions and instruments.

The paper approaches this challenge, drawing on the existing foreign policy toolbox and reflecting on the past lessons of adapting this toolbox to the Internet revolution. The paper goes on to make suggestions on how the tools could be applied to the international challenges that the AI revolution will bring about. The toolbox includes policy making, public diplomacy, bilateral and multilateral engagement, actions through international and treaty organizations, convenings and partnerships, grant-making and information-gathering and analysis. The analysis of the international challenges of the AI transformation are divided into three topical areas. Each of the three sections includes concrete suggestions how instruments from the tool box could be applied to address the challenges AI will bring about in international affairs….(More)“.