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James Johnson, PhD
Welcome! I am a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) and Director of Strategic Studies in the Department of Politics & International Relations at the University of Aberdeen. I am also an Honorary Fellow at the University of Leicester, a Non-Resident Associate on the European Research Council-funded Towards a Third Nuclear Age project, and a Mid-Career Cadre Member with the CSIS Project on Nuclear Issues. I advise various parts of the US and UK governments on AI and nuclear policy, including the US Department of Defense (DoD) Office of the Joint Staff’s Strategic Multilayer Assessment (SMA) program and the UK Office for Artificial Intelligence. I was previously an Assistant Professor at Dublin City University, a Non-Resident Fellow with the Modern War Institute at West Point, and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the James Martin Center for Non-Proliferation Studies in Monterey, CA.
My research examines the intersection of nuclear weapons, artificial intelligence, political psychology, and strategic affairs. My work has been featured in The Journal of Strategic Studies, Pacific Review, Asian Security, RUSI Journal, Strategic Studies Quarterly, The Washington Quarterly, European Journal of International Security, Defence Studies, Journal for Peace & Nuclear Disarmament, Journal of Military Ethics, War on the Rocks, and other outlets. I am the author of AI and the Bomb: Nuclear Strategy and Risk in the Digital Age (Oxford University Press, 2023), Artificial Intelligence & the Future of Warfare: USA, China, and Strategic Stability (Manchester University Press, 2021), and The US-China Military & Defense Relationship during the Obama Presidency (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018). My latest book is The AI Commander: Centaur Teaming, Command, and Ethical Dilemmas (Oxford University Press, 2024). I received my PhD from the University of Leicester and am fluent in Mandarin.
"Johnson's The AI Commander is an essential addition to the discourse on AI and national security. Johnson offers masterful insights into human-machine integration and the ethical-political dilemmas of AI-enabled warfare" –Lieutenant General Jack Shanahan, inaugural Director of Project Maven and the U.S. Department of Defense Joint AI Center
"The AI Commander provides a much-needed human-centric take on the moral and ethical dilemmas of AI-enabled war" – Paul Scharre, Executive Vice President and Director of Studies at CNAS
"A must-read for policymakers, military strategists, and researchers in the field of responsible military AI" – Lieutenant General R.S Panwar, Colonel Commandant of the Corps of Signals, Indian Army
"Johnson has produced an excellent study of how rapid technological change is transforming the role of human commanders in warfare" – Andrew Futter, University of Leicester
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