In July 2023, the United Nations Security Council discussed the implications of artificial intelligence (AI) on international peace and security for the first time. This comes after a decade of talks on lethal autonomous weapons systems under the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. Furthermore, in February 2023, the Netherlands hosted a summit on responsible AI in the military domain (REAIM), where more than 50 countries endorsed a call to action committing to a multi-stakeholder dialogue.
As the multilateral conversation on AI deepens, arms control will remain a critical topic of discussion. In addition to building on non-binding guidelines and continuing dialogue at platforms like REAIM, there is the question of whether a new multilateral governance and regulatory body is needed. Some observers and experts have pointed to the potential existential risks arising from ever-advancing AI applications and proposed that the current governance regime for nuclear weapons offers potential lessons for developing a similar regime for AI.
This roundtable explores the possible directions that multilateral governance of AI may go in, and the possible role that United Nations bodies and platforms could play in arms control for AI.
Simon Cleobury is Head of Arms Control and Disarmament at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy. He is a former British Deputy Disarmament Ambassador (2017 – 2023), where he represented the United Kingdom at the Conference on Disarmament and other disarmament fora in Geneva. Prior to that, he worked in the Security Council Team and then the Peacebuilding Team at the UK Mission to the UN in New York (2012 – 2016). Prior to his diplomatic career, he was a corporate lawyer with global law firm Baker McKenzie. Simon obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Modern History at University College London and a Master’s Degree in Historical Research from Oxford University. He studied law at BPP Law School, London.
Michael Raska is Assistant Professor and Coordinator of the Military Transformations Programme at the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. His research and teaching are focused on how key nation-states strive to maintain or prolong margins of military-technological superiority through defence innovation; the effects of emerging technologies such as AI on force planning and warfighting concepts; and open source-based intelligence assessments on emerging threats such as cyberwarfare capabilities and strategies. He is the author of Military Innovation and Small States: Creating Reverse Asymmetry (Routledge, 2016), and co-editor of AI in Defence Innovation: Assessing Military Artificial Intelligence Strategies, Capabilities, and Trajectories (Routledge, 2023) and Defence Innovation and the 4th Industrial Revolution: Security Challenges, Emerging Technologies, and Military Implications (Routledge, 2022). He holds a PhD in Public Policy and International Affairs (2012) from the National University of Singapore, where he was a recipient of the NUS President’s Graduate Fellowship.