The First International Crisis Of Artificial Intelligence: Imagining Scenarios And Responses

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West Point Press
With the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), a new but underdeveloped literature has emerged to investigate how AI might impact international conflicts. Just how, this article asks, might the first international AI crises occur, and how might international actors respond to avoid catastrophe? After examining existing literature, this piece argues that the three major applications of AI in military systems that may lead to international crises include: AI-enabled autonomous weapons systems, AI-enabled nuclear weapons systems, and AI-enabled cyber weapons. While it is impossible to pinpoint one scenario or even one type of application that will cause the first international AI crisis, this article draws on the model of the “Doomsday Clock” (maintained since 1947 by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists) to help give coherence to possible outcomes and responses. At its core, this article proposes a new model for early warning signs of an impending AI crisis— what it calls, the “AI Doomsday Clock”—which intends to offer a tool to decision-makers that will provide awareness of the early signs of an international crisis in AI, before developing into a potentially disastrous international crisis.
Shira Cohen graduated with a B.A. from the Honors Track in Security, Strategy, and Decision-Making (Highest Honors) and is a postgraduate student in government, diplomacy, and strategy at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya. She is a research assistant in the field of decision-making, strategy, religion, and emerging technologies. Previously, she was a research assistant at the Institute for the Study of Intelligence Methodology, the Israel National Cyber Directorate, and also the Strategic Planning Department at IDF Planning Directorate. Shira may be reached at
Political Science and Security Studies
Cohen, Shira E. "The First International Crisis Of Artificial Intelligence: Imagining Scenarios And Responses." West Point Journal of Politics and Security 1, no. 1 (2021): 1-9.