Summer School: AI and the future of International Security Policy

A cooperation between the Bundeswehr Center for Public Affairs and the Hertie School's Center for International Security held from 21 - 27 August 2022 in Berlin.

AI and the future of (Human) Security

Nowadays, the use of AI has entered our lives in various forms - be it while reading daily news online, travelling from A to B, ordering food, paying for items, and communicating with our friends via apps. The collection and analysis of data to mine for patterns of behaviour, consumption, and communication are all around us. As AI touches upon all realms of our lives, inevitably, it has become of vital importance for states and international security, yet we are only beginning to understand its broader impact. The development and application of AI has already shown signs of fundamental change in different areas, ranging from governments’ communications to governments to its use in the military. And during recent conflicts, the world has witnessed the use of autonomous or semi-autonomous weapon systems. Governments have also been using AI technologies for facial recognition, crowd control or traffic streams, and there are cases of AI application to collect and disperse information, influence public dialogue and engagement. Meanwhile, various states evaluate the potential and pitfalls of AI differently, depending on their definition of power and interests. Many democratic states are engaging in discussions to affirm and defend principles of democracy in and beyond cyberspace.

The aim of this summer school is to grasp these multifaceted aspects of AI that influence national and international security policy. Therefore, we want to understand the theoretical and practical application of AI, accompanying challenges, and prospects and get to know its use and impact application for different political players.

How to assess the impact of AI on democracy?

During this summer school, held from August 21 - 27, 2022, we will examine how governments are defining and developing their AI strategies in the area of defence and security, with a particular focus on Germany, the EU, and NATO. Our aim is to explore how concepts of (abuse of) power, principles of equality, and democratic struggles are reflected in developments in the field of AI and security, considering both public and private actors.

How are our conventional understandings of peace and conflict challenged by contentious online activities? What role do online information operations play in affecting public opinion? Do new AI applications in the security domain adversely affect civil society? How are democracies dealing with these new challenges, and to what extent is international law adapt to this changing environment?

Our summer school combines state of the art research with applied politics and policies. Thus, we want to bring together different points of view of decision-makers from German and European ministries and organizations, academics and think tanks, and speakers of leading businesses.

How to apply

We welcome applications from MA and PhD students and young professionals from a broad educational background who understand their discipline as being relevant and who feel an urgent interest in the topic of AI and democracy.

Your application should include

  • your CV and
  • a short (max. 300 words) cover letter describing your motivation to participate in the summer school.
  • To do so pick one AI-related aspect to illustrate its value and pitfall for democracies.

We are happy to receive your application at

Applications will be accepted until 20 July 2022. Responses will be sent out in early August 2022.

Additional information

The number of participants is limited to 25. The working language is English. The venue will be Berlin. Accommodation and meals on site are included. The possibility to earn ECTS-Points is given. Travel arrangements and travel expenses to/ from Berlin are not included, reimbursed, or organized by the program.

We look forward to receiving your application!