As artificial intelligence technologies become more powerful and deeply integrated in human systems, countries around the world are struggling to understand the benefits and risks they might pose to national security, prosperity and political stability.

These efforts are still very much a work in progress. Australia is developing a whole-of-government AI action plan, led by the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources. The department released a discussion paper this year and finalised its call for submissions in November.

In line with the department’s brief, the paper concentrates on the economic potential of AI, while acknowledging the need for a human-centred, ‘responsible’ AI regime. That reflects a push internationally to conceptualise AI in terms of digital human security and human rights.

But AI technologies also have serious implications for national security and geopolitics, which need to be thoroughly…

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