The impact of digital technology on international relations

Aug 29, 2023

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The world is experiencing a monumental shift as we transition from an “industrial society” to an “information society”. Driven by rapid advancements in information and communication technologies, it is heralding a fundamental change at all levels of human life, the dissemination of knowledge, social interaction, economic and social practices, political involvement, the media and so on. The global nature of this new environment makes international dialogue and the development of truly global approaches essential.

However, the development of the information society “is not taking place equally at all levels of the planet. It is happening “at two speeds”, hence the expression “digital divide” (or gap) which divides the new international society into “info-rich” and “info-poor”.

On the other hand, with the advent of the Internet, the term cyberspace became more popular and took on a denser dimension. Today, cyberspace is a real strategic concept used in military doctrines and international negotiations.

We have therefore entered a new digital era, overturning traditional methods. While progress has been made, new threats have also emerged.

Where are the benefits? Digital technology is often synonymous with progress and evolution. Companies and other institutions are constantly looking for new trends and technologies to maintain their status and position in the market. New developments affect the whole world, and their impact is colossal, so it’s clear that those behind will easily find themselves at a loss when faced with the explosion of digital innovations.


From the point of view of international relations, the development of digital technology has been the subject of much debate: is it positive or negative? Expectations of digital technology are high, where development in one area is supposed to bring benefits to all. It seems clear that the benefits cannot be granted everywhere in the same way simply because the inequalities between countries are far too significant.

From a global overview, there is a real desire to dominate cyberspace because total control of it would enable those possessing it to control both the digital and real worlds. The development of cyberspace is contributing to the establishment of cyber diplomacy, with secondary powers trying to form digital alliances to become stronger.

And what is the role of AI in international relations? Artificial intelligence has emerged as a game-changer in various industries and aspects of modern society and its impact on international relations is no exception. AI adoption is rapidly spreading, from defense and surveillance to diplomacy and humanitarian aid. As nations race to develop and implement AI strategies, its ramifications will reshape the world order, challenging the balance of power and geopolitical status quo.

With the potential of AI for military application and mass surveillance, poses significant implications for the balance of power among nations. It is also widening the gap between technologically advanced countries and those lagging, creating potential unrest and global power re-distribution. AI’s prominence is also especially notable in diplomacy and international negotiations. As the digital landscape becomes more complex, diplomatic dialogues and negotiations are increasingly revolving around AI and related technologies. Nations are investing not only in their capabilities for AI development but also in AI diplomacy, recognizing the increasing importance of these dialogues in maintaining a strong global presence.

Digital technology is algo a source of interest where Information has become an asset, a strategic weapon in all sectors of production, consumption, political or social life. There are many significant debates about the ‘Information society’, and these discussions concern all areas of research. They interest economists, who analyze the role of new information technologies in unifying the global economy, and sociologists, who are interested in measuring the impact of new information and communication technologies on changing social behaviours.

This interest also concerns political scientists who analyze the effects of these technologies on the structures of political power and the future of the nation-state, as well as geographers whose concern is to develop a sufficiently multidisciplinary approach to the analysis of the production and organization of space.

In summary, the transformative power of digital technology and AI has the potential to revolutionize international relations and reshape our world. By understanding these forces and cultivating global collaboration, we can strive to equalize the benefits and address emerging challenges, and developing ethical frameworks and strategies to harness AI’s power while mitigating its risks. This dynamic landscape presents an exciting opportunity for researchers, businesses, and policymakers alike to harness digital innovation for a better and more interconnected future. As we move forward in this new era, the international arena must find a balance to ensure AI serves as a tool for unity and progress, not division and conflict.


Stay tuned!