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Emerging technologies

Monday 12 – Friday 16 December 2022 | WP3141

Guests around the table at Wilton Parlk.
  1. Emerging technologies will significantly impact the non-proliferation regime and should be addressed more deliberately in the NPT as a cross-cutting issue. Although many of the technologies currently identified as “emerging” are decades old, they have the potential to affect states fulfilment of arms control obligations, reliance on nuclear weapons, and the risks of nuclear use. Further, because many of the emerging technologies discussed will likely also underpin economic growth, they will be difficult to limit or restrict. To date, the NPT has devoted little attention to emerging technologies’ influence on the regime. Participants suggested that emerging technologies should become a formal part of NPT diplomacy, potentially through the formation of an emerging technologies working group or track 1.5 dialogues that include experts from industry and academia. One participant also noted that scientists and engineers involved in the development of emerging technologies are poorly positioned to understand the technologies’ policy implications and emphasised the need for increased dialogue between the technical and policy communities.
  2. A point of focus in the group’s discussion of emerging technologies was how they might impact the centrality of nuclear weapons in international security. Some participants questioned whether emerging technologies could eventually reduce states’ reliance on nuclear weapons for security, while others asserted that, although emerging technologies may replace nuclear weapons for certain missions, new technologies will not fully supplant them.



The role of the IAEA and peaceful uses

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