Artificial intelligence (AI) is actually a young field of study about sixty years that brings together sciences, theories and techniques (including mathematical logic, statistics, probability, computational neuroscience and computer science) and aims to achieve the imitation of a human's cognitive abilities by a machine. Based on the definition of IBM, artificial intelligence uses computers and machines to solve problems and make decisions by imitating the human mind.
What is artificial intelligence?
By analyzing Big data created by humans, AI systems perform intelligent searches and interpret text and images to discover patterns in complex data, and then act on those learnings.
In general, one of the essentials of artificial intelligence performance is machine access to Big Data and its processing. Machine learning is powered by data that is available in unprecedented volume, variety, and speed. Big data, along with deep learning, has been the driver of most machine learning advances in recent years.
When modern humans became familiar with some of their mental and intellectual limitations, they compensated part of this shortcoming by assigning some tasks to machines and artificial intelligence, and this was the first time in history that man established his undisputed position as the discoverer and knower of global phenomena handed over to another entity. Of course, in the writings of ancient Greek mythology, humans have always dreamed of having a helper (machine). For example, Hephaestus (the god of craftsmanship in ancient Greece) had created small robot species that engaged doing human affairs and protecting some border beaches.
The impact of artificial intelligence on human societies
Between 1980 and 1990, AI was only able to do very transparent things with clear rules, and it stopped at that point, which is called the "winter of artificial intelligence". It was after this period that scientists came to the conclusion that instead of coding artificial intelligence, they should program it in such a way that it learns by itself. Currently, we have reached a stage where humans have not taught artificial intelligence; Artificial intelligence also teaches humans.
Today, machines have the ability to reveal deep and hidden angles of human vision and mind. Until now, humans have analyzed the facts from their own perspective, but today artificial intelligence analyzes and investigates from their own perspective. For example, in a project called "Alpha zero", which is a chess game simulator, simply by teaching the rules of the game to artificial intelligence, AI can easily beat the champions of this field or older types of artificial intelligence in completely unconventional ways that humans have never dealt with earlier. Or in a medical project, a group of scientists collaborated with a group of artificial intelligence experts to develop an antibiotic for a type of bacteria. By giving the molecular characteristics of 61 thousand bacteria to artificial intelligence, they achieved compounds that are not similar to any human-made compounds and can be applied in medical area. Interestingly, in some cases, scientists could not even identify why this combination could be effective.
Artificial intelligence has significant potential to stimulate economic growth. At the current pace, it is estimated that the AI industry could contribute up to $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030. Beyond the economic potential, artificial intelligence can also contribute to achieving some of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Indeed, AI applications are already being developed and applied to help address challenges in areas covered by the SDGs, such as climate change and health. In addition, some experts believe that advances in artificial intelligence will create new jobs and compensate for lost jobs without affecting employment statistics.
In any case, these cases are specific applications of artificial intelligence, and if one day we can achieve "artificial general intelligence" or AGI, artificial intelligence can act like an independent human. In the past, AI was the tool of human hands and now it has become his colleague; In the technology space, there is talk about the day when AI will show its leadership ability. For example, this pseudo-being now has the ability to devise new military tactics that have not existed so far, and these can disrupt future military calculations. From a social point of view, in the future, societies will either accept AI or not, in which case, the constructions of reality will be completely different from the viewpoint of these two societies. For example, the living space of a society that is tied to "augmented and virtual reality" with a traditional society, looks completely unaligned and uncoordinated. Some people believe that once Descartes's sentence that said "I think therefore I am" can be attributed to artificial intelligence!
Artificial intelligence and international relations
International relations have always been a complex, tense environment requiring quick and accurate decisions. Artificial intelligence in this field can take on different roles such as data analysis, predicting different scenarios and helping decision makers in this regard.
In foreign policy, artificial intelligence can be placed as an assistant in diplomatic affairs and diplomacy of countries. Today, with the increase in the amount of data, we are facing the limitation of the human mind to analyze a large amount of information. Decision-makers, especially within foreign policy institutions, can go directly to the stage of judgment and decision-making in their diplomatic interactions and negotiations by delegating time-consuming computing tasks to an intelligent assistant. This feature of optimal use of time in a world that is changing at a faster pace every moment and requires instant reactions and decisions, has become significant and has led to the possibility of dramatic changes in international calculations.
However, one of the important risks of this phenomenon in the area of international relations is a new form of imbalance called the "global digital gap", in which some countries benefit from the benefits of artificial intelligence, while others lag behind. For example, estimates for 2030 suggest that North America and China will likely experience the greatest economic gains from AI, while developing countries - with lower AI adoption rates - are registering moderate economic growth. Artificial intelligence may also change the balance of power between countries. There are concerns about a new arms race, especially between the United States and China, for dominance in the artificial intelligence.
Undoubtedly, artificial intelligence will have a significant impact on international relations; Such as putting new issues on the international agenda, challenging geostrategic relationships, serving as a tool for diplomats and negotiators, and creating new opportunities and concerns about human rights issues. According to the mentioned points, it seems that those actors who claim to be ahead of others in this field will face more opportunities in the near future and will have more possibilities to face its threats. Artificial intelligence is here to stay and its progress cannot be stopped. Therefore, it should be managed so that its possible negative effects can be reduced or controlled.
Mehdi Salami, an expert at the Institute for Political and International Studies
(The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the IPIS)