In the not-so-distant future, an artificial-intelligent-concerted cyber warfare operation, effectuated via the internet, could cause immense destruction to any technologically advanced society dependent on computer networks, leading to human casualties and serious destruction of property –reproducing the same, if not more, damage that would be caused by conventional armed/kinetic attacks. Accordingly, an artificial-intelligence-organised cyber defense system could mitigate the catastrophic repercussions of any possible massive attack via the internet.

The technological advances in Artificial Intelligence entailing the creation of intelligent systems that can reason and think like humans, combined with the fact that national armies have already begun embedding many autonomous features into weapon systems, may ultimately lead to a possibly dystopian future of intelligent autonomous logical and physical weapon systems endowed with astonishing capabilities.

Malevolent Artificial Intelligence Cyber Systems?

Machine-made, lethal-targeting decisions with no human input, made by fully autonomous weapons with artificial intelligence is where the trajectory of technological advances will ultimately lead, according to experts, not only in the physical battlefields, but also in the cyber realm, with the latter entailing a plethora of not-so-apparent dangers for mankind, therefore rendering imperative the legal debate over the lawfulness of such systems.

Universal Legal Status

A clear and unambiguous international consensus regarding the legal status of cyber warfare operations is so far non-existent, let alone a relative context for artificial- intelligence-based ones. Are they prohibited under the Non-Use of Force doctrine or permitted within the concept of Self-Defence? Are they even subject to the Law of War?

In order to find answers to questions such as the aforementioned, various aspects of International Law have to be in vitro applied, underlining the need for a reform of notions such as Armed Conflict, Use of Force and Attack. Separate emphasis is to be laid upon the need for the creation of a Jus Novum, specifically tailored to modulate this unprecedented and multifaceted method of warfare.

Of an utmost importance is an attempt to circumscribe under international law the offensive or defensive applications of artificial intelligence, effectuated on an interstate level via the cyberspace.

Determining a satisfactory framework under which artificial intelligence cyber attacks can be regulated is of the utmost importance in our era, as the exponential advances in the field of artificial intelligence and the multitude of the actual and reported interstate cyber attacks which ultimately take place at an explosive rate stress the need to fill the legal gap regarding their status.