How giving AI bots control of nuclear weapons could spark World War 3 and ‘kill us all’

A leading expert warned that allowing artificial intelligence to control nuclear weapons could cause doomsday conflict.

As AI plays a larger role in controlling destructive weapons, so does the potential for technology to go wrong and spark World War 3.


These include the US B-21 nuclear bomber, China’s AI hypersonic missile, and Russia’s Poseidon nuclear drone.

Write to Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, expert Zachary Kellenborn, Policy fellow at the Schar School of Policy and Government, warns: “If artificial intelligence drives nuclear weapons, we could all die”.

“The military is increasingly integrating autonomous functions into weapon systems,” he continued, adding that “there is no guarantee that some militaries will not put AI in charge of launches. Nuclear”.

Kellenborn, who describes himself as the US Army’s “Mad Scientist,” explains that “errors” are the biggest problem with autonomous nuclear weapons.

“In the real world, data can be skewed or incomplete in every way,” he said.

Kellenborn added: “In the context of nuclear weapons, a government may have little data on the adversary’s military platforms; existing data may be structurally biased, e.g. relying on satellite imagery; or the data may not account for obvious, expected variations such as images taken in foggy, rainy, or overcast weather.”

Training an AI program on nuclear weapons also presents a major challenge, as, thankfully, nuclear has only been used twice in history at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, meaning any system will struggled to learn.

Despite these concerns, a number of military AI systems, including nuclear weapons, have been deployed around the world.


Russia is said to have upgraded its nuclear arsenal


Russia is said to have upgraded its nuclear arsenalCredit: AFP

In recent years, Russia has also upgraded the so-called “Doomsday device”, aka “Dead Hand”.

This last line of defense in a nuclear war would fire all Russian nuclear bombs one at a time, ensuring complete annihilation of the enemy.

Originally developed during the Cold War, it is said to have received an AI upgrade over the past few years.

In 2018, nuclear disarmament expert Dr. Bruce Blair told Daily Star Online he believes the system, known as “Perimeter”, is “vulnerable to cyberattacks” that could cause disaster.

The dead hand system is meant to provide a backup in case the state’s nuclear command post is killed or otherwise disrupted.

US military experts Adam Lowther and Curtis McGuffin stated in a 2019 paper that the US should consider “an automated strategic response system based on artificial intelligence”.


In May 2018, Vladimir Putin debuted Russia’s underwater nuclear drone, which experts warn could trigger a 300ft tsunami.

The Poseidon nuclear drone, scheduled for completion in 2027, is designed to wipe out enemy naval bases with two megatons of nuclear power.

Described by U.S. Navy documents as an “Intercontinental Nuclear-powered self-propelled torpedo”, or “autonomous undersea vehicle” by the Congressional Research Service, it was intended for use by the United States Navy. used as a second strike weapon in the event of a nuclear attack. conflict.

The big unanswered question for Poseidon is; what it can do autonomously.

Kellenborn warns that it can be allowed to attack automatically under specific conditions.

“For example, what if, in a crisis situation where the Russian leadership fears a possible nuclear attack, the Poseidon torpedo is fired in a dormant mode,” he said. ?.”

Announcing the launch at the time, Putin boasted that the weapon would have “almost no holes” and that “nothing in the world can withstand it”.

Its biggest threat, experts warn, is a deadly tsunami, which physicist Rex Richardson told Business Insider could be on par with the 2011 Fukushima tsunami.


The US has launched a $550 million remote-controlled bomber that can fire nuclear weapons and hide from enemy missiles.

In 2020, The US Air Force’s B-21 stealth aircraft was unveiled, the first new American bomber in more than 30 years.

Not only can it be controlled remotely, but it can also fly on its own using artificial intelligence to select targets and avoid detection with no human input.

Although the military insists an operator will always make the final call on whether or not the target was hit, information about the plane has been slow to come out.


Last year, China boasted AI fighter pilot ‘better than humans’ and shoot down their non-AI counterparts in simulated air battles.

The Chinese military’s official PLA Daily newspaper quoted a pilot as claiming the technology learned the enemy’s moves and was able to defeat them just a day later.

Chinese brigade commander Du Jianfeng claims AI pilots also help make human participants better pilots by enhancing their flying techniques.

Last year, China claimed that an AI-guided hypersonic missile could hit its target with 10 times more accuracy than a human-guided missile.

Chinese military rocket scientists, writing in the journal Systems Engineering and Electronics, propose using artificial intelligence to write the weapon’s software “in flight,” meaning the human operator would don’t know what will happen after pressing the eject button.


In the year 2021, Russia unveils new AI stealth fighter – while also digging in the Royal Navy.

The 1,500mph plane called Checkmate was launched at a Russian airshow by a delighted Vladimir Putin.

An advertisement for the drone – which can hide from enemies – features the Royal Navy’s HMS Defender in jet range with the caption: “See you soon.”

If artificial intelligence controlled nuclear weapons, we could all die

Zachary KellenbornNuclear weapons expert

The world has come close to a devastating nuclear war that can only be prevented by human involvement.

On September 27, 1983, Soviet soldier Stanislav Petrov was an officer on duty at a secret command center south of Moscow when the alarm went off.

It signaled that the United States had launched an intercontinental ballistic missile with a nuclear warhead.

Faced with an impossible choice – alarm and potentially the start of World War 3 or the bank deems it a false alarm – Petrov chose the latter.

He later said, “I firmly deny the charge of starting World War 3.”

Kellenberg said that Petrov made the human choice not to trust the automated launch detection system, explaining: “The computer was wrong; Petrov was right. The wrong signals came from the early warning system mistakenly. the reflection of the sun in the clouds with rockets But if Petrov had been a machine, programmed to react automatically when reliability was high enough, that flaw could have started a war Nuclear. “

He added: “There is no guarantee that some militaries will not put an AI in charge of nuclear launches; international law does not stipulate that there should always be a ‘Petrov’ guarding the node. That is what will. change soon.”

Soviet Colonel Stanislas Petrov prevented a potential nuclear war


Soviet Colonel Stanislas Petrov prevented a potential nuclear warCredit: Alamy
An expert has warned that AI could trigger a nuclear apocalypse


An expert has warned that AI could trigger a nuclear apocalypseCredit: Getty – Contributor How giving AI bots control of nuclear weapons could spark World War 3 and ‘kill us all’

Fry Electronics Team

Fry is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button