Use the future to build the present
Science-based Diplomacy
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1Quantum Revolution& Advanced AI2HumanAugmentation3Eco-Regeneration& Geo-Engineering4Science& Diplomacy1.11.21.31.42.12.22.32.43.13.23.33.43.54.14.24.34.44.5HIGHEST ANTICIPATIONPOTENTIALAdvancedArtificial IntelligenceQuantumTechnologiesBrain-inspiredComputingBiologicalComputingCognitiveEnhancementHuman Applications of Genetic EngineeringRadical HealthExtensionConsciousnessAugmentation DecarbonisationWorldSimulationFuture FoodSystemsSpaceResourcesOceanStewardshipComplex Systems forSocial EnhancementScience-basedDiplomacyInnovationsin EducationSustainableEconomicsCollaborativeScience Diplomacy
1Quantum Revolution& Advanced AI2HumanAugmentation3Eco-Regeneration& Geo-Engineering4Science& Diplomacy1.11.21.31.42.12.22.32.43.13.23.33.43.54.14.24.34.44.5HIGHEST ANTICIPATIONPOTENTIALAdvancedArtificial IntelligenceQuantumTechnologiesBrain-inspiredComputingBiologicalComputingCognitiveEnhancementHuman Applications of Genetic EngineeringRadical HealthExtensionConsciousnessAugmentation DecarbonisationWorldSimulationFuture FoodSystemsSpaceResourcesOceanStewardshipComplex Systems forSocial EnhancementScience-basedDiplomacyInnovationsin EducationSustainableEconomicsCollaborativeScience Diplomacy

Emerging Topic:

4.2Science-based Diplomacy

Associated Sub-Fields

"Science-based Diplomacy” is based on computational social sciences, mathematics, optimisation theory or behavioural research and covers different emerging fields of research, such as computational diplomacy and negotiation engineering.

Computational Diplomacy for one, is concerned with our emerging ability to map the landscape of international relations, to gather and analyse data on unprecedented scales and to simulate potential outcomes. This has transformational potential for diplomatic activity. For instance, efforts have already begun to plot the networks of influence between actors on an international scale and to use artificial intelligence to mine the large databases of texts relating to historical negotiations. As such, Computational Diplomacy is revealing not only the complexity of modern international relations but the potential knock-on effects of future actions. It also allows actors to better understand the history of negotiations, how changes in language reveal movements in position and to reduce uncertainty in formulating plans.

Negotiation Engineering, on the other hand, is a solution-oriented approach to negotiation problems that uses quantitative methods in a heuristic way to find an adequate solution. In doing so, it particularly draws on the decomposition and the formalisation of the problem(s) at hand and the heuristic application of mathematical methods, such as game theory and mathematical optimisation. This way, it can de-emotionalise negotiation problems and allow for resolutions of more complex real-world issues.

Other fields of growing importance that are considered under “scientification of diplomacy” are predictive peacekeeping (see 4.2.3) and trust and cooperation modelling (see 4.2.4) which all combine advances in other disciplines with the practice of diplomacy. For the process of diplomacy, these new approaches, in particular Computational Diplomacy and Negotiation Engineering, raise the possibility that future negotiations will successfully bring together broader groups of stakeholders in more complex negotiations, while allowing progress with fewer missteps. The expected outcome is a contribution to greater chances of international stability.

Selection of GESDA Best Reads and further key reports

In 2018, the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House published a report: “Artificial Intelligence and International Affairs: Disruption Anticipated”.1 This examines some of the challenges that AI may bring for policymakers in the area of diplomacy. The Emirates Diplomatic Academy’s “Diplomacy in the Age of Artificial Intelligence” investigates similar issues.2 The role of computational diplomacy and its evolution in recent years is covered in “Computational Diplomacy: Foreign Policy Communication in the Age of Algorithms and Automation”.3 An overview of Negotiation Engineering is given in “Negotiation Engineering: Why Quantitative Thinking Can Also be Useful in Negotiations”.4 “Computational trust and reputation models for open multi-agent systems: a review”5 provides some of the technical basis for models of this kind.

The idea of applying computational approaches to diplomacy is still relatively new. This is reflected in the uniformly low awareness found across the four key domains investigated. These approaches are not expected to become mainstream for another 12–15 years and all four were judged to require considerable interdisciplinary convergence to achieve breakthroughs. While the low awareness may be due to the fact that computational diplomacy is currently only being discussed by a small community, as and when it goes mainstream the field could have profound impacts on international relations suggesting there is considerable need for anticipatory planning.

GESDA Best Reads and Key Resources