ISLAMABAD: Senate Standing Committee on Defence Chairman Mushahid Hussain Syed on Wednesday said rise in modern technologies was reshaping the contours of conflict and security, which was guided by advancements in cyber, Artificial Intelligence (AI)and autonomy.

He said weaponisation of AI was not just a theory but had become a reality.

He was speaking at the inaugural session of a three-day international security workshop with emphasis on strategic foresight in adapting the transformative impact of AI and associated technologies on modern warfare and global security dynamics.

Senator Syed said in the ongoing conflict in Gaza, AI was playing a dominant role, adding that, “it is time to address the implications of AI in warfare.”

The situation is presenting new security challenges that demand our attention, he said, adding that the existing security environment was defined by increasing utilisation of land, sea and aerial drones, swarm drones, missile systems, anti-ballistic missile systems, killer robots and many more.

Pakistan, being a global south country, has a consistent pattern of dealing with emerging technologies and is transparent at the same time, the Senate committee chief said while noting that the inter-connectedness between AI and autonomy introduced complexities in decision-making processes, strategic planning and the ethical deployment of military capabilities.

While highlighting Pakistan’s development and acquisition of emerging technologies, Senator Syed said it was mainly in realms of peaceful uses for defensive purposes and was transparent in terms of uses of technology. He suggested the need for Pakistan to establish an inter-services cyber command under the joint services headquarters to deal with the evolving challenges.

UNIDIR’s senior researcher Dongyoun Cho said strategic stability, on multiple levels, was affected by emerging technologies, AI and autonomous capabilities.

“AI is productive yet challenging and has completely modified the nature and domain of strategic stability in the post-Cold War era,” the senior researcher said, emphasising the transparency brought by arms control regimes helped in smooth continuation of political processes.

CISS Executive Director Ambassador Ali Sarwar Naqvi said technological advancements were rapidly shaping all aspects of life including our understanding of security, and it was pertinent to comprehend the challenges posed by these new frontiers.

Experts at the conference hosted by the Centre for International Strategic Studies (CISS) in collaboration with the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), Geneva, underscored the profound and growing impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and related technologies on military strategies, global security policies and ethical frameworks marking a pivotal shift in the paradigm of contemporary conflict and defence. The workshop aimed to address the intersection of AI and cyberspace with global security, while focusing on the changing geopolitical landscape, the security implications of emerging technologies and their ethical aspects.

The discussions at the inaugural plenary and the subsequent working sessions also targeted cyber threats to infrastructure, norms for state conduct and the need for multilateral dialogue for formulating a comprehensive response to the challenges of technology in international security.

Published in Dawn, November 23rd, 2023

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