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05 12 2022

NATO launches artificial intelligence strategic initiative

The NATO Science and Technology Organization (STO) and the NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCI Agency) launched a strategic initiative on Artificial Intelligence (AI) Horizon Scanning aimed to better understand AI and its potential military implications.

The two NATO entities kicked off the initiative last week with a workshop at the Agency's premises in The Hague, Netherlands. NATO Chief Scientist Dr Bryan Wells and NCI Agency General Manager Ludwig Decamps participated in the event, together with over 80 AI experts from Allied and Partner Nations' defence research institutes, defence industries and academia.

"AI is one of the key emerging and disruptive technologies identified by NATO as vital for the maintenance of its technological edge. By working together, the STO and the NCI Agency are able to bring together global experts to ensure the very best scientific expertise is available to advise NATO and its Allies and Partners on the latest scientific trends in this area," said Dr Bryan Wells, NATO Chief Scientist. "Last week's conferences also confirm the importance of The Hague as a global focal point for bringing a greater understanding of all issues concerning AI."

Horizon Scanning is a methodology to perform a comprehensive scientific and technological assessment on a particular topic. The NATO strategic initiative on Horizon Scanning employs Theodore von Kármán's foundational principle to bring armed forces and scientific personnel closer together to enhance collective knowledge and understanding. Dr Theodore von Kármán is considered one of the greatest aeronautical scientists of the 20th century and was the first chair of one of the predecessors of the STO.

The AI experts also visited the NCI Agency's Data Science and AI labs in The Hague for demonstrations of how AI can be trained on NATO's data to address the Alliance's challenges. They also discussed the practicalities of AI development in defence environments with the Agency's data scientists and AI engineers.

"The NCI Agency has always contributed to NATO's technological edge. The NCI Agency is proud to be a partner in this important activity and share our expertise in applying AI and data science to NATO challenges," said NCI Agency General Manager Ludwig Decamps.

This NATO strategic initiative marked the start of a multi-national activity to support the Alliance on the potential military impact of AI, as well as to plan activities to maintain the Alliance's military and technological edge.

The City of The Hague has also been a key collaborator in the development of AI. The Deputy Mayor of the City of The Hague hosted an icebreaker on the evening before the start of the event.

"The Hague recognizes the importance of game-changing technologies such as AI and the need for them to develop in a responsible manner," Saskia Bruines, the Deputy Mayor of the City of The Hague. "The Hague is home not only to many high-tech industries, but also to several international organizations, such as NATO and the UN, which are working to develop AI responsibly, for the greater good."

Furthermore, the city also hosted the annual The Hague Conference on Responsible AI last week at the Peace Palace, with a focus on peace, law and security. The conference aimed to contribute to setting the agenda for the future of responsible and humane AI in an open and in-depth dialogue.

NATO launches artificial intelligence strategic initiative