In their latest piece for the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists Dr Ulrich Kühn with his former IFSH colleagues Marina Favaro and Dr. Neil Renic, take a closer look at the Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA), while drawing on their study “Negative Multiplicity”.
DIANA was announced by NATO in April 2022. It is tasked with supporting the development of a range of emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and hypersonic weapons. The creation was stated against the backdrop of new and evolving weaponry being used by Russia and Ukraine, and to strengthen the Alliance’s technological edge.
DIANA, argue the authors, can be compared to the US Defense Department’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Though DARPA surpasses DIANA in size, as the former’s annual budget was $3.8 billion while the entire NATO’s annual budget was $2.7 billion. As such, the authors highlight the importance of prioritizing the limited resources that DIANA will have.
However, there are deeper questions than just budgetary ones. What emerging technologies should be pushed? What will be the (un-)intended consequences of those new technologies? The authors discovered that some emerging technologies can have unintended consequences in their study on "Negative Multiplicity", in which they forecasted the potential future impact of 12 emerging technologies. An example would be anti-satellite (ASAT) capabilities, that might interfere with intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, nuclear command, control and communication, and orbital early warning systems. This can lead to increased international instability.
While emerging technology arms race is already underway, their study’s findings have implications for how to navigate the value and risks of initiatives like DIANA. Moral and strategic implications must be considered, and possible negative effects on international stability and human security must be mitigated. Otherwise, NATO’s objectives and political standing might be undermined.
Read the full article "Will DIANA - NATO's DARPA-style innovation hub - improve or degrade global stability?" here.