The Future of Nukes Involves AI and Nobody Knows What Happens Next

Machines are going to do more and more jobs that were once done by hand, including those that involve nuclear weapons.
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Hacking. Disinformation. Surveillance. CYBER is Motherboard's podcast and reporting on the dark underbelly of the internet.

According to the hype, artificial intelligence is changing everything. The truth is more complicated, but that doesn’t mean that companies and governments aren’t rushing to embrace the new technology. It’s even being used to update an old and destructive technology: nuclear weapons.

America is modernizing its force, Russia is building new kinds of nuclear weapons, and China is increasing its nuclear stockpile. At the same time, all three countries are looking to AI to outsource the dangerous and deadly work of apocalyptic destruction.


But what, exactly, does that look like? When it comes to nukes and AI, it’s time to embrace the horrors of uncertainty. This week’s guest is Edward Geist, a policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. His latest book is Deterrence Under Uncertainty: Artificial Intelligence and Nuclear Warfare.

It’s a conversation that’s both fascinating and frightening with one major theme: we don’t know nearly enough. “One lamentable parallel between nuclear weapons and artificial intelligence is that both topics elicit an astonishing degree of magical thinking from otherwise intelligent people, including some with genuine expertise,” Geist wrote in his book.

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