This Friday, Georgia Tech Associate Professor Jon Lindsay, (School of Cybersecurity and Privacy and the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs,) will present his lecture “Why Artificial Intelligence Increases the Importance of Humans in War (in Ukraine and Everywhere Else.)” Join us from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. in Coda or virtually!
Recent scholarship on artificial intelligence (AI) and international security focuses on the political and ethical consequences of replacing human warriors with machines. Yet AI is not a simple substitute for human decision-making. The advances in commercial machine learning that are reducing the costs of statistical prediction are simultaneously increasing the value of data (which enable prediction) and judgment (which determines why prediction matters). But these key complements—quality data and clear judgment—may not be present, or present to the same degree, in the uncertain and conflictual business of war. This has two important strategic implications. First, military organizations that adopt AI will tend to become more complex to accommodate the challenges of data and judgment across a variety of decision-making tasks. Second, data and judgment will tend to become attractive targets in strategic competition. As a result, conflicts involving AI complements are likely to unfold very differently than visions of AI substitution would suggest. Rather than rapid robotic wars and decisive shifts in military power, AI-enabled conflict will likely involve significant uncertainty, organizational friction, and chronic controversy. Greater military reliance on AI will therefore make the human element in war even more important, not less.
Jon Lindsay is an Associate Professor at the School of Cybersecurity and Privacy and the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). Previously he was at the University of Toronto. He is the author of Information Technology and Military Power (Cornell University Press, 2020) and co-editor of Cross-Domain Deterrence: Strategy in an Era of Complexity (Oxford University Press, 2019), with Erik Gartzke, and China and Cybersecurity: Espionage, Strategy, and Politics in the Digital Domain (Oxford University Press, 2015), with Tai Ming Cheung and Derek Reveron, and well as publications in international relations, intelligence studies, and the sociology of technology. His current book project is “Age of Deception: Intelligence and Cybersecurity in International Relations.” He holds a Ph.D. in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an M.S. in computer science and B.S. in symbolic systems from Stanford University. He has also served in the U.S. Navy with assignments in Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East.