Amy Ertan (@AmyErtan) is a cyber security doctoral candidate at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her research explores the security implications of AI innovation in military and defence environments. Amy is a cyber security Fellow at the Belfer Center, Harvard Kennedy School, and is currently a Visiting Scholar at the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Center of Excellence.She has previously been employed in various cybersecurity roles including strategic cyber threat intelligence and cyber wargaming design.
(Cyber) Security Strategies in the Age of AI
What are the pressing concerns around artificial intelligence (AI) enabled technology in military applications? To what extent are these concerns being addressed in the current development and deployment of emerging technology in defence contexts? The article aims to respond to these questions, drawing on the analysis of interviews with (primarily UK-based) industry experts in AI military innovation. Based on an analysis of such interview data, the article explores how the framing of an ‘AI arms race’ is driving the supply and demand for military innovation in the UK defence sector. Key innovation challenges are examined, including perceived limitations of the public-private procurement model for emerging technology, open questions around testing and evaluating advanced learning algorithms, and the complex debates surrounding AI autonomy in conflict environments. The article explores the incentives of organisations and highlights how the status quo results in significant security gaps in which military and defence departments do not have the requisite knowledge to demand security assurance deemed desirable by industry experts. This security gap highlights a role for intergovernmental actors such as NATO to act as facilitators for norms-building activity, to mitigate the range of security challenges highlighted in current innovative practice.