Course (certified) on Tech Diplomacy

Logo partnership for the goals
Seminars, Workshops, and Seasonal Schools
18/06/2021 to 19/06/2021


AI is already changing the face of conflict dynamics. As regards security and defence —including the management of insurgencies and organized non-state actors—, AI technology can alter the costs of conflict, accelerate the operational tempo and raise the risk of escalation, increase the perceived risks of surprise attacks, enhance access to intelligence among warring parties, and shift public opinion about involvement in (armed) conflicts. It also brings new stakeholders into the crisis management process. For example, technology companies have the technical expertise required to apply AI methodologies in pre-conflict, conflict or post-conflict monitoring. Additionally, authoritarian states where data collection restrictions are laxer will have more access to consistent big data and be able to take better advantage than non-state actors of AI in warfare.

Therefore, new conflicts may arise about who has control over online data collection and access. Non-authoritarian organizations, like the EU, may even be tempted to adopt such undemocratic methods. Therefore, the question of how to safeguard democracies from totalitarian approaches to tech governance is another key issue.

AI changes the conditions of information flow, which has major implications for conflict dynamics. A party to a conflict may apply AI tools to uncover information about the other party to which it would not otherwise have access. This could help redress the asymmetricity of information, which is central to mediation in conflicts where actors have imperfect information about the other party’s culture, resources and resolve. Increased transparency can then help to build trust between parties. Mediators should, therefore, form an accurate picture of what and how much information is available to the parties to the conflict, as well as whether they are applying AI-based tools to access intelligence.

Awareness of the influence of AI-based tools on conflict dynamics can help peace-building practitioners to identify the changing political resolve of the parties to a conflict to engage in peace negotiations, address key issues of peace agreements and help design implementable agreements that appease security concerns.

This event: AI for Tech Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution
Apart from the impact of AI on conflict dynamics per se, peace practitioners are increasingly coming around to the idea that AI may be a useful tool to improve their peace-building efficiency.

This event will explore how AI, an evolving collection of information management technologies, is changing the space where (armed) conflict takes place and the form, means, and timing of responses to such disputes. Through the use of computer programs that analyse huge amounts of data to discover knowledge in the shape of patterns, AI can generate scenarios to predict and/or clarify human behaviour. This potential is already being harnessed by enterprises to manage corporations and shape markets, but it also has applications in other spheres, where it can be used to gain political influence, conduct psychological warfare or for population control. However, it could be equally useful for averting, pre-empting or reshaping conflicts.

AI-based technologies raise ethical and pragmatic concerns whose impact on disputes and conflict resolution has serious implications for peacemakers and mediation scholars. Peace practitioners need to take a proactive rather than a reactive stance on AI and develop a comprehensive and strategic understanding of what role AI can play in peace-building. They need to explore ethical, constructive and transparent AI applications and identify the possible downsides of these methods.

Rather than substituting human-to-human interaction, AI technologies are tools that help human negotiators effectively apply human skills. Their success will depend on the mediation practitioner’s ability to gain the consent and trust of the parties at conflict. Mediators should also weigh up the impact of AI

SDG info

Relevant SDGs

SDG17 - Partnerships to achieve the Goal

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Tech Diplomacy & International Cooperation




Activity provider / partner

Universidad Politécnica de Madrid | Budapest University of Technology and Economics | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

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