Artificial intelligence and the future of warfare

The USA, China, and strategic stability

By James Johnson

Artificial intelligence and the future of warfare
Hardcover +
  • Price: £85.00
  • ISBN: 9781526145055
  • Publish Date: Sep 2021
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    Paperback +
  • Price: £85.00
  • ISBN: 9781526179081
  • Publish Date: Aug 2024
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    eBook -
  • Price: £85.00
  • ISBN: 9781526145079
  • Publish Date: Sep 2021
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    Book Information

    • Format: eBook
    • ISBN: 978-1-5261-4507-9
    • Published Date: September 2021


    This volume offers an innovative and counter-intuitive study of how and why artificial intelligence-infused weapon systems will affect the strategic stability between nuclear-armed states. Johnson demystifies the hype surrounding artificial intelligence (AI) in the context of nuclear weapons and, more broadly, future warfare. The book highlights the potential, multifaceted intersections of this and other disruptive technology - robotics and autonomy, cyber, drone swarming, big data analytics, and quantum communications - with nuclear stability.

    Anticipating and preparing for the consequences of the AI-empowered weapon systems are fast becoming a critical task for national security and statecraft. Johnson considers the impact of these trends on deterrence, military escalation, and strategic stability between nuclear-armed states - especially China and the United States. The book draws on a wealth of political and cognitive science, strategic studies, and technical analysis to shed light on the coalescence of developments in AI and other disruptive emerging technologies.

    Artificial intelligence and the future of warfare sketches a clear picture of the potential impact of AI on the digitized battlefield and broadens our understanding of critical questions for international affairs. AI will profoundly change how wars are fought, and how decision-makers think about nuclear deterrence, escalation management, and strategic stability - but not for the reasons you might think.


    'This superb book is a technical tour de force with a timely approach to emerging challenges to nuclear deterrence. In this way, it has significant potential to inform current policy among states as they contemplate - for example - the growth of Chinese nuclear forces.'
    Rose Gottemoeller, Payne Distinguished Lecturer at the Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University

    'Johnson has crafted a superb narrative that examines the strategic risks of artificial intelligence and its potential impact on deterrence, stability and the maintenance of nuclear weapon capabilities. His evidence-based recommendations on the responsible application of artificial intelligence will provide policy makers and strategists with a range of ethical responses to the dilemmas of using non-human cognitive functions in national security.'
    Major General Mick Ryan

    'Artificial intelligence and the future of warfare present the reader with a clear and elegant understanding of artificial intelligence as it provides a robust technical foundation concerning key technological advances in the evolution of AI for a non-technical audience.'
    Augusto C. Dall'Agnol, Journal of Strategic Studies

    With Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Warfare, James Johnson truly advances the conversation around intelligence, strategic stability, and technology. Johnson is undoubtedly well-positioned to write this book given his education as a Political Scientist, lengthy career working in China, and intellectual interest in emerging technology, especially Artificial Intelligence (AI). While there are similar books on the intersection of emerging technology and geopolitics, Johnson's work stands out since it addresses how AI influences intelligence collection and analysis which in turn shapes a state's perception and actions. This approach is novel making Johnson's contribution well-worth the time for strategic strategists.'
    Mark Grzegorzewski, Intelligence and National Security

    'A significant contribution to the wave of recent scholarship on the potential implications of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for strategic warfare and great power competition. It is a must-read for strategic studies scholars, decision-makers, and military leaders.'
    Reuben Steff, Defense & Security Analysis

    'The book provides a good and comprehensive perspective on the nu­clear power play and strategic stability and how it is shaped by new technological developments.'
    Thomas Reinhold and Christian Reuter, Z AuBen Sicherheitspolit (2022)


    Introduction: Opening the AI Pandora's box

    Part I: Destabilizing AI renaissance
    1 Military AI primer
    2 Artificial intelligence in the 2nd nuclear age

    Part II: Military AI superpowers
    3 New challenges to military-techno Pax Americana
    4 U.S.-China crisis stability under the AI nuclear shadow

    Part III: Nuclear instability redux?
    5 Hunting for nuclear weapons in the digital age
    6 Fast and the furious: Drone swarming and hypersonic weapons
    7 The AI-cyber security nexus
    8 Delegating strategic decisions to intelligent machines
    Conclusion: Managing an AI future



    James Johnson is a Lecturer in Strategic Studies in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Aberdeen

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