ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IN DIPLOMACY

Artificial intelligence has applications in defence, intelligence, homeland security, diplomacy, surveillance, cybersecurity, information, and economic statecraft. Diplomacy, long regarded as the primary tool of international relations, is impacted by AI on three levels: it has become a subject of the action; it conditions diplomacy itself, and it prepares the environment in which it is practised.

Evolution

“artificial intelligence” (AI) has received much attention ” artificial intelligence “. As exaggerated as the public hype can be, there is genuine technological progress behind it: computer processor performance increases year after year, as are advanced in-memory technology and research into AI algorithms. To summarise, it is now possible to process more data faster than ever before – with consequences that can already be seen in everyday life, such as facial and speech recognition.

Diplomacy has long been a part of the digital revolution. To meet the challenges and opportunities that come with it, it is adapting its cultural references, operational methods, practices, structures, and initiatives. With AI’s integration into all aspects of society, it will inevitably impact diplomacy. The more profound AI is integrated into society, the greater the impact on the context in which diplomats operate.

AI Implications on Diplomatic Practice

Artificial intelligence (AI) has evolved into a tool of power politics and a component of state diplomacy.

AI as a tool for diplomatic practice: AI examines how it can support diplomats’ diplomatic functions and day-to-day tasks. In times of crisis, AI systems could be of great assistance to diplomats by assisting them in making sense of what is going on (descriptive analytics) and identifying potential trends (predictive analytics)

AI as a topic for diplomatic negotiations: Today, AI is still prone to error and will not be able to replace the judgement of experienced diplomats in the foreseeable future. However, as a supplementary tool, AI has the potential to make an invaluable contribution to the preparation and conduct of diplomatic negotiations.

AI as a factor influencing the environment in which diplomacy is practised: As a factor influencing the environment in which diplomacy is practised, AI has the potential to be the defining technology of our time, with the potential to reshape the foundation of the international order.

As a diplomatic topic, AI is relevant to a broader policy plan that includes everything from the economy, business, and security to democracy, human rights, and ethics. In assisting diplomats and other foreign policy professionals with internal and external text document analysis, speech analysis, content and framing input, catching spam and unwanted messages, identifying hate speech, and combating the spread of terrorism content on social media platforms.

Threats of AI as a diplomatic tool.

Artificial intelligence threatens international security and social, economic, and military activities. This means that governments, as the primary actors in a global society, must reconsider their foreign policies, diplomacy, and international cooperation in light of the new challenges posed by the malicious use of AI in various domains, particularly global psychological security. This threat is a crucial feature of the new cold war, defined by the race toward AI. Given the rise of new technological and economic forces, which means the emergence of new players and new rules of international relations, a new international order is taking shape. However, the malicious use of AI poses new challenges for states as the primary actors in international relations, given the emergence of new concepts such as artificial diplomacy, data sovereignty, cybersecurity, and cyberwar. For example, AI can assist diplomats in data processing, but it cannot completely replace the human factor. AI is incapable of reaching a compromise, and it is deaf to perception, intuition, and risk-taking. Human diplomats can detect the undetectable, see the invisible, and notice the unnoticeable, which AI systems cannot, at least not shortly.

Revolutionising Diplomatic Dialogues through AI

A dialogue must be added and organised based on the cognitive and analytical elements made available to operators by the digital revolution, from Big Data to the algorithms used in Artificial Intelligence. A dialogue of this type allows a diplomat to understand better his interlocutors’ history, cultures, attitudes, mentality, aspirations, and interests—that is, the citizens of the area in which he conducts his activity in favour of his state. In this regard, it should not be forgotten that, according to the most recent statistics, more than three billion people worldwide use Facebook, Twitter, Qzone, Snapchat, and other social media platforms daily.

It is the evolution of a forward-thinking diplomatic system. Many governments have advocated for establishing structures suited to these new responsibilities within foreign ministries and embassies worldwide. For example, the US State Department launched a Task Force on eDiplomacy in 2002, later becoming the Office of eDiplomacy. A visit to the official State Department website demonstrates how important, and complex the mechanism of American digital diplomacy has become. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in the United Kingdom also has a separate Office of Digital Diplomacy.

The role of artificial intelligence in improving consular and diplomatic relations

From an AI standpoint, consular services could be low-hanging fruit for AI integration in diplomacy. Decisions are amenable to digitisation, the analytical contribution is reasonably relevant, and the technology encourages user-machine collaboration. Consular services rely on highly structured decisions. They primarily involve recurring and routinised operations based on clear and stable procedures that do not need to be treated as new each time a decision is required. By lowering language barriers between countries, AI can help improve communication between governments and foreign publics, increase the security of diplomatic missions through image recognition and information sorting technologies, and support international humanitarian operations by monitoring elections, assisting in peacekeeping operations, and ensuring that financial aid disbursements are not misused through anomaly detection. AI-assisted consular services may incorporate declarative (know-what) and procedural knowledge (know-how) to automate routinised operations and scaffold human cognition by reducing cognitive effort. This can be accomplished by using data mining and data discovery techniques to organise the data and enable the identification of patterns and relationships that would otherwise be difficult to detect.

Can Artificial Intelligence (AI) open new doors for the practice of diplomacy? Throughout history, “diplomacy” has meant the efforts of human communities to peacefully reconcile their interests with one another before or after attempting to enforce them by force.

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Writer by Eric MUHIA, International Studies and Diplomacy Graduate Student

10 May 2022, Kenya  

Category: Diplomacy  

Reference: EM10052022D

Photography: Rene Bohme

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