Global Affairs May 31, 2023 by

Sergei Oudman

What is International Relations and Security according to AI?

With all the latest developments going on in the field of AI, I thought it would be a nice exercise to ask some student questions to ChatGPT version 4. More specifically, the May 12th version of OpenAI in order to see later down the road if the answers will change, but also to showcase what an AI can generate when you ask specific questions in the field of International Relations and Security. When the first version of ChatGPT was launched a fervent discussion started at universities with regard to plagiarism. I am not too worried about this. Using ChatGPT to write an article about International Relations is the same as asking someone else to write an article for you. There are very simple ways to prevent and filter out content that has been written by an AI in a university setting. But this is material for another article.


I grew up with a Commodore 64 and later started programming and delved into the world of ICT, and saw how it has grown exponentially over the decades. Many of these tools I use everyday for different purposes and I treat them as tools. However, for the generations that come after me, that didn’t see the growth of these tools as I did, AI may be something completely normal. For this article I used the International Relations (IR) field to show what an AI can do when you ask it questions. Please note that you can do a lot more with AI than just merely ask it questions. It depends on the interface that you use, e.g. just chatting with it or using other integrations/models that are out there.

I asked the AI the following questions and took it from there to see what it would generate:

Question 1: What is International Relations and Security

International Relations (IR) is a field of political science that studies relationships among countries, the roles of sovereign states, intergovernmental organizations (IGOs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and multinational corporations (MNCs). It involves understanding the political and diplomatic interactions among different actors on the international stage and examining how these interactions influence global politics, economics, law, human rights, social movements, and more. Key issues in international relations include war and peace, economic policy, diplomacy, and international security.

International Security, on the other hand, is a subfield of International Relations that focuses on questions of war and peace. It studies the measures taken by states and international organizations, such as the United Nations, to ensure mutual survival and safety. These measures include military action and diplomatic agreements such as treaties and conventions. Other aspects of security studied in this field could include economic security, energy security, environmental security, and even human security, broadening the traditional focus on military issues.

These two fields of study are interrelated as they both seek to understand how we can create a safer, more secure, and more peaceful world. Both involve the study of the use of power in international affairs, and both are informed by and inform policy decisions made by governments and international bodies.


Question 2: From where did you get the information you just gave me, and can you provide me with the sources in APA format?

As an artificial intelligence, my responses are generated based on a mixture of licensed data, data created by human trainers, and publicly available data. The specific response you’re asking about draws on publicly available knowledge about the field of International Relations and International Security, which is commonly taught in political science programs and discussed in relevant literature.

While I don’t have the ability to cite specific sources in the same way a human would, the information provided is based on widely accepted understandings of these fields, as found in various academic resources and textbooks such as:

  1. Baylis, J., Smith, S., & Owens, P. (2017). The globalization of world politics: An introduction to international relations. Oxford University Press.
  2. Buzan, B., Wæver, O., & Wilde, J. D. (1998). Security: A new framework for analysis. Lynne Rienner Publishers.
  3. Walt, S. M. (1991). The renaissance of security studies. International Studies Quarterly, 35(2), 211-239.

Please note that while I strive for accuracy, I recommend consulting directly with primary sources, especially for academic or professional work.


Question 3: Can you give me a description of the definitions of International Relations and Security from a Political Scientist’s point of view?

Sure, I can provide definitions from a political science perspective.

International Relations: In the context of political science, international relations is the study of complex interactions among states and non-state entities in the global system. This field examines how states and non-state actors interact with each other, and the factors that shape these interactions. Major areas of study within international relations include foreign policy, conflict and peace studies, international law, international organizations, and issues of global governance.

The perspective taken in this field often depends on the theoretical approach. Realists, for example, focus on power dynamics and self-interest, viewing states as primary actors driven by national interest. Liberals, on the other hand, place more emphasis on international institutions and cooperation, while constructivists focus on the role of ideas, norms, and identity in shaping international relations.

International Security: From a political science viewpoint, international security involves the study of measures taken by states and international organizations to ensure mutual survival and safety. These measures can range from diplomatic agreements such as treaties and conventions to military actions.

The field traditionally focused on military security, specifically on issues of war and peace, the use of force, and the balance of power among states. However, contemporary security studies have broadened to include other aspects of security, like economic security (protection against severe economic downturns), environmental security (protection against environmental degradation and climate change), and human security (protection against threats to individuals’ survival and well-being, such as poverty, disease, and civil violence).

While the exact definitions and scope can vary, these are the general outlines of international relations and international security from a political science perspective.


Question 4: What sources would you recommend for a student of these fields to read and can you list them for me in APA format? They can be both online and offline resources.

Absolutely, here are a selection of key resources for students studying International Relations and International Security, listed in APA format:

  1. Baylis, J., Smith, S., & Owens, P. (2017). The Globalization of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations. Oxford University Press.
  2. Buzan, B., Wæver, O., & Wilde, J. D. (1998). Security: A new framework for analysis. Lynne Rienner Publishers.
  3. Waltz, K. N. (1979). Theory of International Politics. McGraw-Hill.
  4. Keohane, R. O. (1984). After Hegemony: Cooperation and Discord in the World Political Economy. Princeton University Press.
  5. Walt, S. M. (1987). The Origins of Alliances. Cornell University Press.
  6. Wendt, A. (1992). Anarchy is what States Make of it: The Social Construction of Power Politics. International Organization, 46(2), 391-425.
  7. Nye, J. S. (2004). Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics. PublicAffairs.
  8. Jervis, R. (1976). Perception and Misperception in International Politics. Princeton University Press.
  9. Sagan, S. D., & Waltz, K. N. (2003). The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: A Debate Renewed. W.W. Norton & Company.

For online resources, various universities and institutions offer open-access materials and courses, including:

  1. MIT OpenCourseWare. (n.d.). Political Science.

Please remember that while these sources are widely respected, it’s crucial to critically evaluate all information and consider a range of perspectives in your studies.


Question 5: How reliable are you in providing me with information and sources? Could you quantify your answer?

As an AI model developed by OpenAI, I strive to provide reliable, accurate, and up-to-date information based on a mixture of licensed data, data created by human trainers, and publicly available data. I have been trained on a diverse range of datasets, including textbooks, websites, and other educational material, so I can provide information on a wide variety of topics.

However, it’s important to note that while I aim for accuracy, I do not have the ability to access real-time information or updates after my training cut-off in September 2021. This means that for some recent developments, I may not provide the most current information.

Quantifying reliability is challenging, but some evaluations of large language models similar to me suggest that they can generate correct, sensible responses to a diverse array of prompts in many contexts. But, like any tool, I’m not perfect and errors can occur.

Always remember to use multiple sources when researching, especially for academic or professional purposes, and to critically evaluate the information you receive. AI tools like me can be a useful starting point and can help provide general information and answer questions, but they should not replace human judgement or the need for thorough and careful research using primary sources and up-to-date material.


Question 6: With the knowledge that you possess at this moment, how do you see the field of International Relations and Security develop over the course of 5-10 years with the entrance of AI?

While I can’t predict the future with certainty, I can share some trends and potential implications of AI in the field of International Relations (IR) and Security based on the information available up to my last training cut-off in September 2021.

  1. Decision-making and analysis: AI can be used to analyze large volumes of data in order to identify patterns, trends, and insights that can inform decision-making in international relations and security. Machine learning algorithms could potentially forecast political events, conflicts, or economic trends based on historical data. However, the use of AI in decision-making also brings potential risks, as biases in data or algorithms could lead to skewed or unfair outcomes.
  2. Cybersecurity: The role of AI in cybersecurity is likely to increase, given the rising prevalence of cyber threats. AI can help in detecting, predicting, and responding to cyber threats. On the flip side, there’s also a risk that malicious actors could use AI to conduct more sophisticated cyberattacks.
  3. Autonomous weapons systems: The potential development and use of autonomous weapons systems, or “killer robots,” has profound implications for international security. These systems could change the nature of warfare, but also raise serious ethical and legal concerns. There’s ongoing debate in the international community about how to regulate these technologies.
  4. Diplomacy: AI could potentially impact diplomacy. Machine learning could help analyze the public sentiment and reactions to diplomatic decisions, predict outcomes of negotiations, or even simulate diplomatic decision-making processes for training purposes.
  5. Global Governance of AI: As AI becomes increasingly integral to international relations and security, global governance of AI becomes more crucial. This involves establishing international norms, regulations, and institutions that govern the use of AI, which requires cooperation and dialogue among states.
  6. Inequality and Power Dynamics: AI could exacerbate existing inequalities in international relations, with countries that have advanced AI capabilities potentially gaining more power and influence. Conversely, countries lagging behind in AI development might find themselves at a disadvantage.

In conclusion, while AI has potential to transform the field of international relations and security in many ways, it’s also crucial to consider ethical, legal, and societal implications. Policymakers, scholars, and stakeholders in international relations will need to engage in ongoing dialogue to navigate these changes responsibly.


Final question: Is there anything you would like to share on this topic/interaction that we have had thus far?

I appreciate the depth and thoughtfulness of your questions on the topics of International Relations and International Security. Your inquiries highlight the complex interplay of technology and geopolitics in our world, especially the role of AI. I hope our conversation was informative and useful.

It’s crucial to note that while AI can provide insights and assist in various fields, its utility in areas such as International Relations and Security is heavily dependent on how it’s employed and governed. As you delve further into these subjects, consider both the opportunities and challenges AI presents. Remember to think critically about the ethical, societal, and political implications of integrating AI into these fields.

Moreover, remember that AI-generated information should always be verified with the most current, reliable primary sources. As an AI, my responses are based on my training data and do not include information or updates after September 2021.

Lastly, the fields of International Relations and Security are constantly evolving, especially with the advent of AI and other technological innovations. Continuing to ask insightful questions and keeping up with current literature, discussions, and debates, as you’re doing now, is a great way to navigate these changes.

Please feel free to ask if you have more questions or need further information on any topic!


My own conclusion

Thus far, I have been able to communicate with different versions and forms of AI. For this article, I used ChatGPT to see the difference in results. Let me first start with what I have found to be the most obvious in working with an AI. It is a language model, and as such it is very sensitive to the level of language that is being used, e.g. B2 or C2. This is also the reason why I asked it on several occasions to be critical of itself. For the very simple reason that it, as a tool, will not by default bridge the equality gap in society. For the very simple reason that most people do not function on the C1 or C2 level but B1 or B2. On the contrary, I believe it will widen the gap and it will also stimulate certain human behavior that will make humans dependent on tools such as AI. As ChatGPT already states itself, countries that lag behind in these developments, be it for whatever reason, will find themselves in a great disadvantage. The effects of ICT in general, are still ongoing with regard to human behavior and the subsequent effects in the IR field are ongoing. The torrent of information that is out there makes it harder to prioritize useful and less useful information.

AI by itself is a tool, but in order to use and maintain this tool countries/organizations need resources. This will make AI as a tool weaponizable and although it is a language model at this moment, it can and will function as an information weapon. AI’s are already used in weapon systems, and the current developments make it more agile and flexible.

As with everything, AI can contribute but it can also damage human interests and developments. For children e.g., the use of an AI can rob them of real-life learning experiences and coping strategies. It will not promote the reading of books or putting a certain amount of effort into activities that by themselves contribute to an overall learning experience. For professionals, an AI model can be very useful for coding and other precise activities, it can speed up processes.

Without falling into a doomsday scenario, my largest concern is focused on the learning attitude of the generations that will grow up with AI. It is something that we already see happening with generations that grew up with the internet and social media. There is a lack of general knowledge, proper learning attitude, civil discourse, critical thinking and other human behavior that focuses on creating citizens that realize that freedom isn’t free.

AI will widen the gap for those that are not in the position to learn intrinsically or that have had the privilege of quality education. This is, in my humble opinion the greatest threat we face today.

About the author

Sergei Oudman

Sergei Oudman