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AI vs. Humanity: UN Security General Urges Action to Prevent AI-Powered Nuclear War

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United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has warned that the advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) technology could exacerbate the threat of nuclear war. He urged nuclear-armed countries to take action to prevent nuclear proliferation and use, stating that “Humanity is on a knife’s edge.”

Newsis

On June 6, The Guardian reported that Guterres made this announcement via a recorded message at the Arms Control Association (ACA) annual conference held in Washington, USA.

In his video message, Guterres warned, “The risk of a nuclear weapon being used has reached heights not seen since the Cold War.”

“States are engaged in a qualitative arms race. Technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) are multiplying the danger,” he added. Further, he emphasized the necessity for all countries to agree that the decision to use nuclear weapons should not be left to machines or algorithms but rather should remain under human control.

Guterres also highlighted the responsibility of nuclear-armed nations in leading efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation. He asserted, “It is the responsibility of nuclear-armed countries to lead us back to disarmament,” and stressed the importance of resuming dialogue to ensure that nuclear weapons are not used. He further noted that the system designed to prevent the use, testing, and proliferation of nuclear weapons is weakening. Guterres urged nuclear-armed countries to take their non-proliferation obligations seriously and to agree not to engage in preemptive nuclear attacks mutually.

He appealed to the United States and Russia to return to the negotiation table before the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) expires. The New START, which came into effect in 2011, is an agreement that limits the number of nuclear warheads that can be deployed on intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and strategic bombers by the United States and Russia to 1,550 each. It was set to expire in 2021 after a ten-year term, but it has been extended once and is now set to end in 2026.

With only about 600 days left until the treaty expires, Russia declared last February that it would withdraw from the New START following its invasion of Ukraine.

According to The Guardian, the United States, the United Kingdom, and France agreed two years ago to maintain complete human control over nuclear weapons and pledged to prevent AI from controlling nuclear weapons. However, Russia and China have not yet joined in this agreement.

At last year’s ACA conference, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan announced that he would engage in dialogue without preconditions to establish a treaty to replace the New START, but Russia rejected this proposal.

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