Collage with images from Internet by IDN-INPS. - Photo: 2023

AI ChatBot Warns of Nuclear Risks in a Militant Political Climate

By Thalif Deen

UNITED NATIONS 9 July 2023 (IDN) — The AI Chatbot GPT—described as a computer-generated program that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to understand questions and automate responses—was reportedly downloaded more than one million times within its first five days last month, according to OpenAI, ChatGPT’s maker.

And although criticized for its inability to distinguish between fact and fiction, Chatbot’s access to basic knowledge is a steady source of information for writers, journalists, academics and other professionals.

The headline in a New York Times article June 18—and titled “Danger! Danger! Are these Warnings for AI or Nuclear Weapons?”—sounded ominous.

The comparisons between AI and nuclear weapons “seems to be everywhere”, the Times said.

“It’s like nuclear weapons”, a pioneering AI researcher was quoted as saying, while top AI executives have warned that AI technology “could pose an existential threat to humanity on par with nuclear war”.

Sam Altman, chief executive of OpenAI, which developed Chatbot GPT, told the US Congress last month that AI pioneers are worried about its potential dangers and want the federal government to regulate it.

Bearing in mind AI’s vast storage of knowledge, culled mostly from the internet, we posed a series of questions focusing primarily on nuclear threats. The responses were instantaneous—and arrived with lightning speed.

Excerpts from the Q&A:

IDN: With nuclear threats from Russia and sabre-rattling by North Korea, is there a possibility of a nuclear war?

AI CHATBOT GPT: As an AI language model, I don’t have access to real-time information or the ability to predict specific future events. However, I can provide you with some general insights.

Nuclear threats and tensions between countries are undoubtedly serious issues that require close attention. While it’s important to take such threats seriously, it’s equally important to recognize that the majority of nations understand the catastrophic consequences of nuclear war and have a vested interest in avoiding it.

International diplomacy, treaties, and agreements, such as the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), are in place to prevent the use of nuclear weapons and encourage disarmament. These efforts aim to reduce the likelihood of a nuclear conflict and promote peaceful resolutions to conflicts.

While regional tensions can escalate at times, it is crucial to remember that engaging in a full-scale nuclear war would be highly detrimental for all parties involved. The international community generally works to prevent such conflicts through negotiations, economic sanctions, and diplomatic channels.

It is important for nations to maintain open lines of communication, engage in diplomatic dialogue, and pursue peaceful resolutions to conflicts. Additionally, efforts to promote nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation remain crucial for global stability and security.

However, it is essential to stay informed about global events through reliable news sources and pay attention to the assessments of experts in the field of international relations and security

IDN: If there is a nuclear war, how disastrous would that be for humanity?

CHATBOT GPT: A nuclear war would be an extremely catastrophic event for humanity, leading to immense destruction and loss of life. The consequences of a nuclear war can be summarized as follows:

Immediate Casualties:

The initial detonation of nuclear weapons would cause immediate and massive casualties in the targeted areas. The blast, heat, and radiation would result in the deaths of millions of people within moments.

Long-Term Health Effects:

Survivors of the initial blasts would suffer from severe radiation sickness, leading to long-term health issues such as cancer, genetic mutations, and birth defects. The impact on future generations could be profound.

Infrastructure Destruction:

Nuclear explosions would cause widespread destruction of infrastructure, including residential areas, hospitals, transportation systems, and communication networks. Essential services such as electricity, water supply, and sanitation would be severely disrupted, exacerbating the humanitarian crisis.

Environmental Devastation:

Nuclear war would release enormous amounts of radioactive materials into the atmosphere, contaminating the air, soil, and water. This contamination would persist for years, affecting ecosystems, agriculture, and the food chain. It could lead to long-term environmental damage, making certain areas uninhabitable.

Global Nuclear Winter:

The smoke and dust generated from the nuclear explosions would ascend into the atmosphere, blocking sunlight and causing a drop in temperature. This phenomenon, known as nuclear winter, could significantly reduce agricultural productivity and result in widespread famine, affecting not only the warring nations but also regions far from the conflict.

Societal Collapse:

The consequences of a nuclear war would likely lead to social and economic collapse. Governments, institutions, and essential services would struggle to function, resulting in lawlessness, mass migrations, and humanitarian crises. The loss of infrastructure, resources, and skilled personnel would hinder any recovery efforts.

Escalation and Nuclear Fallout:

In the event of a large-scale nuclear conflict, there is a risk of further escalation as more nations get involved. This could lead to a spiraling global catastrophe with exponentially higher casualties and destruction.

It is essential to note that the above scenario assumes a full-scale nuclear war involving multiple nations. The actual outcome would depend on various factors, such as the number of weapons used, their yield, the targets chosen, and the prevailing geopolitical circumstances.

Given the immense risks and devastating consequences, it is crucial to continue pursuing diplomatic efforts, arms control treaties, and nonproliferation agreements to prevent nuclear conflict and promote global peace and security.

IDN: Can the UN help prevent a future nuclear war?

CHATBOT GPT: The United Nations plays a crucial role in promoting global peace and security, and one of its primary objectives is to prevent conflicts, including nuclear war. While the UN alone cannot prevent a future nuclear war, it has several mechanisms and initiatives aimed at reducing the risk of such a catastrophic event. Here are some ways in which the UN contributes to nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament:

Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT):

The UN oversees the NPT, which is an international treaty designed to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and promote disarmament. It encourages countries to work towards complete disarmament while granting access to peaceful nuclear technology for energy and other peaceful purposes.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA):

The IAEA is an independent agency within the UN system responsible for monitoring and verifying the peaceful use of nuclear energy and ensuring compliance with safeguards agreements. It plays a crucial role in detecting and deterring the diversion of nuclear materials for weapons purposes.

Security Council Resolutions:

The UN Security Council has issued numerous resolutions related to nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation, and arms control. These resolutions often impose sanctions or other measures to discourage states from pursuing nuclear weapons programs or violating existing agreements.

Disarmament Forums and Conferences:

The UN organizes various disarmament forums and conferences where member states can discuss and negotiate arms control and disarmament measures. These platforms provide an opportunity for dialogue, building trust, and advancing disarmament initiatives.

Peacekeeping and Conflict Resolution:

Through its peacekeeping operations and diplomatic efforts, the UN works to resolve conflicts and prevent escalations that could potentially lead to nuclear war. By facilitating negotiations and promoting peaceful settlements, the UN contributes to reducing the risk of armed conflicts, including those involving nuclear-armed states.

Public Awareness and Advocacy:

The UN raises awareness about the dangers of nuclear weapons and advocates for their elimination. It educates the public, supports civil society organizations, and promotes initiatives such as the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons to generate momentum for disarmament efforts.

While the UN’s efforts are significant, preventing a future nuclear war requires the collective commitment of nations, adherence to international treaties and agreements, effective diplomacy, and the cooperation of nuclear-armed states. It is a complex challenge that requires sustained multilateral efforts beyond the UN alone.

IDN: Will the US and Western powers succeed in preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons?

AICHATBOT GPT: As an AI language model, I cannot predict the future with certainty. However, I can provide some information based on the current situation.

The question of whether the US and Western powers will succeed in preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons is complex and depends on various factors, including political, diplomatic, and strategic developments.

As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, the US and other Western powers, along with other international actors, were engaged in negotiations with Iran to address concerns about its nuclear program.

In 2015, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was reached between Iran and a group of world powers (known as the P5+1: the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, and China), which aimed to restrict Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.

However, in 2018, the United States withdrew from the JCPOA and reimposed sanctions on Iran. In response, Iran began to gradually reduce its compliance with certain nuclear restrictions outlined in the agreement. Negotiations have been ongoing since then to revive the JCPOA or reach a new agreement.

It’s important to note that international relations and negotiations are subject to change, and new developments may have occurred since my knowledge cutoff. The success of preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons will depend on various factors, including the outcome of ongoing negotiations, the willingness of all parties to reach a mutually acceptable agreement, and the broader geopolitical dynamics in the region.

It’s advisable to stay updated on current news and diplomatic developments to understand the most recent information and trends regarding this issue.

IDN: A group of over 350 AI industry leaders warned last month that artificial intelligence (AI) poses a growing new danger to humanity –and should be considered a “societal risk on a par with pandemics and nuclear wars” according to a report from the Center for AI Safety. How credible is this threat?

AICHATBO GOT: As an AI language model, I don’t have access to real-time news or specific reports published after my knowledge cutoff in September 2021. Therefore, I cannot provide information about the specific report from the Center for AI Safety that you mentioned.

However, it is worth noting that concerns about the potential risks associated with artificial intelligence have been a topic of discussion in various AI communities. Ethical considerations, safety precautions, and the impact of AI on society are important subjects that researchers, policymakers, and industry leaders have been addressing.

While AI has the potential to bring significant benefits and advancements, there are valid concerns about its misuse or unintended consequences. Discussions around the risks of AI often include topics such as job displacement, biased decision-making algorithms, privacy concerns, and the potential for autonomous weapons, among others.

It is not uncommon for experts and industry leaders to raise warnings and emphasize the importance of addressing the societal impact and potential risks of AI. However, it’s essential to examine the specific arguments and evidence presented in the report you mentioned to gain a comprehensive understanding of their perspective. [IDN-InDepthNews]

Collage with images from Internet by IDN-INPS.

IDN is the flagship agency of the Non-profit International Press Syndicate.

This article was produced as a part of the joint media project between The Non-profit International Press Syndicate Group and Soka Gakkai International in Consultative Status with ECOSOC on 9 July 2023.

We believe in the free flow of information. Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International, except for republished articles with permission.

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