At its core, the definition of artificial intelligence (AI) refers to a type of technology that can draw logical conclusions on its own. Today’s version of AI technology uses sophisticated algorithms and predictive analytics to make educated guesses about future behaviour.             

Though it may seem as though AI only burst on the scene a couple of years ago, this technology has actually been around since the 1950s. Alan Turing, a British mathematician and World War II code breaker, is widely credited with its inception. In fact, the Turing Test is still widely used as a benchmark for a machine’s ability to process information independently. Since then, and especially since the personal computer became a regular household item, we have seen that machine learning or AI has become an important part of the everyday life of modern society . The Big Data mining & Analytics capability that new processors have provided to desk top computers have provided a sharp edge to the use of AI as a powerful tool and finds regular application in most internet programs, social media and advertising.  Studies have commenced to investigate & evaluate  the AI potential for economic applications, tackling challenging social problems like poverty, health education and urban planning, AI can improve conditions in a variety of social domains ranging from educational challenges to addressing issues of health and hunger.  AI is also useful in predicting crop yields, drought, weather and provide remedial solutions when combined with Satellite imagery. Thus like with other technological revolutions, AI is also bound to have far-reaching consequences in every aspect of our life –  social , economic & political.     

Therefore undoubtedly A I  would invade the conduct of Diplomacy. AI can Impact diplomacy in two significant ways:  First, by changing the whole eco system & the environment in which diplomacy is practised;  and second, by offering new tools to diplomats to help them in the conduct of their business & in their functioning .The facets of diplomacy or relations between nations can be stated  as comprising of the following :- 

i. Public or open diplomacy;

ii Bilateral and multilateral engagement between nations ;

iii Formal and informal groups built of  experts – Think Tanks , Chairs in Academic Institutions etc

iv  Association of stakeholders from different regions and sections;

v  Allocation of resources to civil society & non governmental organisations & use of print , electronic & social media 

vi Leverage of the embassy / Consulate system for information gathering and monitoring activities.

Thus where mostly Diplomatic practices are reporting, consular affairs, communication, and negotiation activities the big data collection & A I could be used as powerful  tools There is however a strong inter-disciplinary component in international diplomacy which may at times  limit the scope of AI application . But this does not preclude AI  from likely becoming an increasingly important factor in international relations and diplomacy as technological capabilities become the key competitive advantage in the power struggle on the international arena .

Though AI is yet to make its way in the Indian foreign policy agenda, China has already introduced an AI foreign policy toolbox and has its “New Generation Plan” to be the world leader in AI by 2030. Countries such as Russia, Canada and the United States are also good examples of how the AI revolution has made its way into its foreign ministry. Russian government stated that AI would determine the future “rule of the world”. U.S president, Donald Trump has signed an executive order to establish the “American AI initiative”. Of course China , US , Russia have a clear focus on military, government surveillance.  But there  are many  regional and global international AI platforms that could be developed to provide early warning systems, optimal negotiation strategy algorithms and/or venues for dispute settlement and conflict resolution.

India too needs to equip and train its corps of doplomats on the potential of AI in the conduct of diplomacy. SAMDeS is the thought leader on the subject and is working together with its team of experts on developing the concept.


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