The Kremlin’s political warfare against democratic countries has evolved from overt to covert influence activities. But while Russia has pioneered the toolkit of asymmetric measures for the 21st century, including cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns, these tools are already yesterday’s game. Technological advances in artificial intelligence (AI), automation, and machine learning, combined with the growing availability of big data, have set the stage for a new era of sophisticated, inexpensive, and highly impactful political warfare.
This paper outlines the current state of play in political warfare, identifies emerging threats, and proposes potential policy responses. It argues for greater information sharing mechanisms between trans-Atlantic governments and the private sector, greater information security and transparency, and greater investments in research and development on AI and computational propaganda.
*This article was first published on March 2018 on The Brookings Institution.
** The authors are Foreign Policy Experts of The Brookings Institution.