The utilization of semiautonomous weapons, such as drones, by state and non-state actors poses an unconventional threat to Middle Eastern states. In response, these states are investing in advancing their military capabilities by importing AI and cyber technologies and by producing their own. This chapter examines the geopolitical implications of the military technology race in the Middle East and the ethical and technological challenges/risks of acquiring, developing, and using such capabilities by Middle Eastern States. The chapter argues that this race is creating new geopolitical cooperation and competition dynamics, in addition to escalating proxy wars. Within the context of the Sino-American rivalry, most countries are shifting toward Chinese technology. Furthermore, states are cooperating with traditional adversaries to compete with their rising rivals. The lack of internationally accepted regulations and the tendency to delegate decision-making to machines are at the root of the ethical challenges associated with AI-based military technology and the attendant civilian casualties dismissed as collateral damage. Additionally, military application of AI is subject to cybersecurity challenges through algorithm/data manipulation cyberattacks and espionage, given states’ dependency on foreign expertise.
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Hassib, B., Ayad, F. (2023). The Challenges and Implications of Military Cyber and AI Capabilities in the Middle East: The Geopolitical, Ethical, and Technological Dimensions. In: Eslami, M., Guedes Vieira, A.V. (eds) The Arms Race in the Middle East. Contributions to International Relations. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-32432-1_4
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