AI and the End of ‘Mutually Assured Destruction’

AI and the End of ‘Mutually Assured Destruction’

What happens when nations no longer fear retaliation for a nuclear strike?

When the first atom bomb dropped on Japan, the world changed. For the first time, mankind had the capability to erase entire nations and even humanity itself.

Since then, though dozens of far more destructive weapons have been tested, they have never been used in war. Why? It was not love toward neighbor. It was fear of “mutually assured destruction”—the probability that a nuclear strike would meet with nuclear retaliation.

This fear, however, could now be overcome.

Six years ago, a rand Corp. paper suggested that artificial intelligence could upend the foundations of “mutually assured destruction” by the year 2040. With the speed of AI developments in recent years, this could happen much faster.

Edward Geist, coauthor of the 2018 paper, stated at the time: “Much of the early development of AI was done in support of military efforts or with military objectives in mind.”

While most of the world is fascinated by the developments of AI, these military applications ought to deeply concern us.

During the Cold War, governments reasoned that launching a nuclear war would be suicide. They are starting to look at this differently now. They reason if they can advance ahead of everybody else with AI, they can overcome this principle that has prevented nuclear wars!

‘An AI War Lab’

In its February 8 article “How Tech Giants Turned Ukraine Into an AI War Lab,” Time wrote:

War has always driven innovation, from the crossbow to the Internet, and in the modern era private industry has made key contributions to breakthroughs like the atom bomb. But the collaboration between foreign tech companies and the Ukrainian armed forces, who say they have a software engineer deployed with each battalion, is driving a new kind of experimentation in military AI. The result is an acceleration of “the most significant fundamental change in the character of war ever recorded in history,” Gen. Mark Milley, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters in Washington last year.

We had better pay attention to what might be “the most significant fundamental change in the character of war ever recorded in history”! Technology advances are often hyped up, but I believe there are reasons that may not be the case here.

Time highlighted the work of United States tech company Palantir, which develops data and AI software to support Ukraine’s defense. Palantir ceo Alex Karp noted that AI could “allow David to beat a modern-day Goliath.”

In other words, a nation that appears to have every other advantage could lose if it falls behind in AI.

But ultimately, this is not about Ukraine winning against Russia. Ukraine has become a “lab” to prepare for much larger wars!

Time quotes Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s minister of Digital Transformation, saying that Ukraine “is the best test ground for all the newest tech, because here you can test them in real-life conditions. … Our big mission is to make Ukraine the world’s tech R&D lab.”

Palantir’s website quotes Karp stating, “Palantir was founded on the belief that the United States, its allies, and partners should harness the most advanced technical capabilities for their defense and prosperity.”

These major players realize that America’s superpower status no longer hinges on its nuclear arsenal but on “the most advanced technical capabilities.”

This has been true for some time, but the fast-moving developments in AI could suddenly change the playing field to the advantage of America’s enemies.

Beware Betrayal

The rush for new weapons in Ukraine appears to be empowering tech companies, Time writes: “The ones willing to move fast and flout legal, ethical or regulatory norms could make the biggest breakthroughs. National-security officials and experts warn these new tools risk falling into the hands of adversaries.”

Rita Konaev of Georgetown’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology is concerned. “The prospects for proliferation are crazy,” she told Time. “Most companies operating in Ukraine right now say they align with U.S. national-security goals—but what happens when they don’t? What happens the day after?”

This is a sobering question! What happens if one of these allies betrays America? How much trust is America’s military placing in its allies? How much vulnerability is it exposing itself to?

Karp, for example, studied at a German university, under the famous German social theorist Jürgen Habermas. He cofounded Palantir with German-American billionaire Peter Thiel, who is friends with German former Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg. On a much larger scale, the U.S. is closely allied with Germany and the European Union. They share military secrets and cooperate in cybersecurity and in AI advances.

Of course, they all say they are U.S. allies, but how reliable is this partnership?

There is a great danger here, and we need to be beware of any deceitful tactics.

While the U.S. today still leads in most AI applications, the EU leads in creating AI regulations. But as Max Tegmark asked in his book Life 3.0, would “rogue nations, dictators and terrorist groups” honor these regulations? Of course not.

Does the EU even plan to abide by its own regulations? The Bible reveals the answer!

A Prophesied Surprise Attack

As the late Herbert W. Armstrong taught, 90 percent of Bible prophecy pertains to the latter days, beginning with the latter half of the 20th century. You can see this by studying Jesus Christ’s own words in Matthew 24. Only in recent decades has mankind gained the ability to cause “great tribulation” and threaten humanity’s very existence (verses 21-22).

But to understand so many of these prophecies, you must know who the modern-day nations are. You can gain the key to unlock this understanding by reading The United States and Britain in Prophecy, a book we offer freely.

If you look closely, you will see that Bible prophecy reveals that one nation will overcome the fear of “mutually assured destruction.”

Ezekiel 23 warns America and Britain (the modern descendants of ancient Israel) about a betrayal from one of its “lovers,” or foreign allies. Ezekiel 7:14 describes the result: “They have blown the trumpet, even to make all ready; but none goeth to the battle: for my wrath is upon all the multitude thereof.” In other words, the missiles, airplanes and drones will not fly! Since the 1990s, I have believed this could refer to the effects of a cyberattack. With recent advances in AI, such a crippling attack becomes much more likely.

A 2019 Forrester Research report concluded that most cybersecurity decision-makers believe offensive AI will increase the scale and speed of attacks to a degree “that no human could conceive of.” The report concluded: “These attacks will be stealthy and unpredictable in a way that enables them to evade traditional security approaches that rely on rules and signatures and only reference historical attacks.”

Five years later, what they predicted has become reality!

Future AI military advances have a myriad of implications we can’t even now consider. But think about what would happen if the U.S. trusts in all these AI advances but then calls to battle and nothing happens. It could well be that a nation with unexpected superior technological abilities will have shut down its military!

Notice why God says He will allow this to happen: because of His wrath! This is a warning against modern Israel for a time when they refuse to repent. And the nation that God will use to punish them is Germany, biblical Assyria (Isaiah 10:5).

U.S. decision-makers trust in their technological advantages and rely on their allies. God warns that this trust is misplaced!

There is only one place where nations and individuals can find true safety, and that is in God.