Emerging technology and nuclear security: What does the wisdom of the crowd tell us?

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What is the impact of emerging technologies on nuclear security and disarmament? Current rapid technological advances are taking place against the backdrop of increased investments in modernizing nuclear arsenals, rising tensions among great powers, and increased pressure on nuclear arms control agreements. Yet, the anticipated net effect of these emerging technologies on the nuclear landscape remains ambiguous. Through a survey with 85 experts and a series of elite interviews with 14 decision-makers, this article contends that while emerging technologies destabilize nuclear deterrence by increasing nuclear risk, they can also create fresh opportunities for nuclear disarmament. Given that new technologies are changing the nature of nuclear threats, this article also argues that we need to change the way we think about arms control if we want to respond effectively to the threats posed by emerging technologies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286-311
JournalContemporary Security Policy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This article presents the findings from a research project that was supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The findings here do not represent the official policies or views of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and are the authors? views alone. An earlier draft of this paper was presented at the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, the Peace Research Center Prague, the Institute for Security Policy and Peace Research at the University of Hamburg, and at Erasmus University Rotterdam. We are thankful to the participants of these meetings for their insights.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


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