Barriers to New Arms Control Regulation on AI
29 November 2023
There is now significant momentum on the need for AI regulation (in the broadest sense of the term), which necessitates examining some of the barriers to reaching agreement on regulating AI in the arms control context and thinking about what is achievable right now. [...] What Are the Barriers? One of the biggest barriers to any arms control is the fact that the major military powers do not want to be constrained in the kind of weapons systems they can develop and use. [...] For some it may seem attractive to go outside these structures, to the UN General Assembly, for example, but this would likely result in agreements that none of the key states join because of the loss of protection arising from the consensus rule. [...] Under resolutions 984 and 1887, the permanent members of the Security Council gave security assurances against the use of nuclear weapons to non-nuclear-weapon states that are parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). [...] An alternative and/or additional way of achieving the same result would be for the negative AI assurance to appear in a statement by the leaders of the permanent five members of the UN Security Council, rather like the Prevention of Nuclear War statement from January 2022.