Artificial Intelligence and Power Competition

The race to develop Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities has heated up since the breakout launch of the ChatGPT generative chatbot last year, with Russia and China spending billions to rival the United States’ dominance in this new arena. Recently, Russian President Vladimir Putin convened an AI conference and declared that Russia would not accept the Western dangerous monopoly over artificial intelligence and Moscow needed to rival biased Western chatbots with its own technology. According to Putin, Western nations do not take into account Russian culture, and simply ignore it, while modern systems are trained on Western data that also flooded the Russian market.

President Putin urged Russian Scientists and IT experts to launch a crusade to upturn the West’s monopoly in the AI field. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has currently become the next battlefield for global competitors to succeed in establishing their overall supremacy at the global level. In fact, artificial intelligence a sub-set of Machine Learning (ML) technology has the potential to impact nations’ security in various ways. So far, the expertise and capabilities in AI have become essential for nations across the globe to defend themselves from this newest threat and compete with their adversaries in this crucial domain. At the same time, the development of modern technologies and the implementation/use of AI through them can facilitate the nations in the achievement of their strategic objectives including economic, industrial, and military superiority over their competitors. After the ongoing race in space and cyberspace, the global competition between the United States, Russia, and China has now entered into the AI domain.

The battle for AI development, implementation, and integration with the existing military, and industrial capabilities is currently underway to assert power and project influence globally. Amid the battle to excel in artificial intelligence, the United States possesses a clear advantage as being the birthplace of this newest technology, while Russia and China are currently investing massively in research and development efforts to produce technologies/ capabilities to exploit US vulnerabilities and attain a superior position. Today, AI plays a significant role in modern warfare, contributing to various aspects of military operations. Today’s autonomous weapons systems including drones, unarmed aerial and seaborne vehicles, and armed robots all are controlled by AI Applications and soft technologies.

Similarly, cyber warfare, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, logistics, and supply chains all are being managed and carried out through AI-powered systems. AI assists commanders in war strategy formulation and decision-making processes through the provision of real-time information, weather forecasts, and critical analysis based on available data and future predictions. Apparently, artificial Intelligence is the future of mankind and whoever excels in this technology will lead the world in the coming days. ChatGPT’s success sparked a rush among other tech giants and venture capitalists including Google hurrying out its chatbot and investors throwing cash into all manner of AI projects. All competing nations have acknowledged the critical importance and use of this technology and blindly investing the bulk of resources in its research/development. It is the right time for Pakistani strategists to preemptively initiate an R&D program at the national level that not only aligns already commercial and defence capabilities with this newest technology but to timely neutralizes future challenges to the national security and territorial sovereignty of the country.