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Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament Policy Brief  No.89 - September, 2020

Technology, Arms Control and World Order: Fundamental Change Needed

Over centuries, advances in science and technology have made possible new kinds of weapons that often provided an advantage in war. Sometimes qualitative change is so big that one can speak of military-technological revolutions. For about thirty years, the term “revolution in military affairs” has been used for the rise of electronics, sensors, precision weapons, networked communication, combined to a “system of systems”. Now we are on the verge of a more fundamental revolution, characterised by cyber warfare, autonomous weapon systems, general military use of artificial intelligence, with new possibilities in the fields of genetics, of manipulation of the human body and mind, and more wide-spread access to technologies of destruction. Preventing the rush to destabilising technologies requires nothing less than a fundamental re-orientation of the political and military strategies of the main actors.