Capturing Technology: Rethinking Arms Control. The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Cyber Operations

21 June 2021
Capturing Technology: Rethinking Arms Control. The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Cyber Operations

The United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) and the Federal Foreign Office of Germany are pleased to invite you to a workshop on The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Cyber Operations, which forms part of the “Capturing Technology. Rethinking Arms Control” Initiative.

Digital technologies are growing both in number and in complexity at an unprecedented rate driven by both technological innovation and the shift towards digitization of all sectors of society, including defence and military. While this trend has unlocked new opportunities, it has also introduced new vulnerabilities. This effect is even more amplified by the phenomenon of technological convergence. One of the most uncertain, yet technologically promising, areas of convergence concerns the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on offensive and defensive cyber operations. Whereas technology is advancing in the direction of convergence, international and multilateral governance approaches to both cyber and AI remain siloed and narrow in scope.
With a view to inform dialogue and action, the workshop will seek to understand the technical and operational impact that AI can bring to the cyber domain, as well as to explore the strengths and weaknesses of current international security governance frameworks and their suitability to deal with the convergence of AI and cyber.


14:30-14:45  Welcome and opening remarks

  • John Reyels, Head of Cyberstaff, German Federal Foreign Office, Berlin
  • Robin Geiss, Director, UNIDIR

14:45-15:45  Session 1 “Understanding the impact of AI on cyber operations”
Guiding questions:

– Looking at the different stages of a cyber attack, what kind of benefits for the attacker can AI bring? 

– What is the current state of development and use of AI-enable cyber attacks and what can we see on the horizon? What are the barriers for, and enablers of, further innovation?

– How can AI boost the efficiency and effectiveness of defensive cyber operations? 

– How, if at all, could the convergence of AI and cyber change both the CONOP for military use of cyber capabilities and the threat/risk assessment?


  • Alexander Liskin, Head of Anti-Malware Research, Kaspersky
  • Dakota Cary, Research Analyst, Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET)
  • Ann Väljataga, Law Researcher, NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence 

*This session will be moderated by Giacomo Persi Paoli, Programme Lead, Security and Technology, UNIDIR

15:45-16:00  Break

16:00-17:30  Session 2 “Assessing governance responses”
Guiding questions:

– The debates on AI and cyber issues, within the context of international security, are often held in separate bodies, by separate communities and with little to no cross-fertilization of knowledge and expertise (e.g. GGE on LAWS on one side, Cyber GGE and OEWG on the other). What are the benefits and limitations of such a siloed approach?

– Each multilateral process developed its own set of norms or principles. As technology converges, to what extent do such norms and principles complement or supplement each other?

– Is the current governance framework sufficient to address the impact of AI on cyber operations? If yes, why? If not, what else would be needed?


  • Amanda Craig, Director, Cybersecurity Policy at Microsoft
  • Anastasiya Kazakova, Senior Public Affairs Manager, Kaspersky
  • Gerardo Isaac Morales Tenorio, Coordinator for Multidimensional Security, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico
  • Ljupčo J. Gjorgjinski, Senior Advisor for Multilateral Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, N. Macedonia; Senior Fellow, DiploFoundation
  • Nathalie Jaarsma, Ambassador-at-large for Security Policy and Cyber, Netherlands

*This session will be moderated by Kerstin Vignard, Head, UNIDIR support team to General Assembly processes pursuant to resolutions 73/27 and 73/266

17:30-17:35  Closing remarks

  • Regine Grienberger, Ambassador for Cyber Foreign Policy, German Federal Foreign Office, Berlin

Please note that this event is by invitation only. For further information please contact

UNIDIR encourages the participation of representatives and experts working on or interested in issues pertaining to AI, cybersecurity, international security, and disarmament.