Since the outbreak of COVID-19, schools and universities, businesses, and public administrative bodies have begun exploring digital means through which to conduct operations. In the field of international relations, the concept of ‘digital diplomacy’ has experienced a period of heightened attention, with diplomats and scholars becoming increasingly aware of technological means of dialogue. As new technologies relating to artificial intelligence and internet communication technologies pervade even the well—established area of interstate communication, it is important to assess the overall impact that technological developments have on the field of international relations. How have countries around the world made use of eDiplomacy? Can means of eDiplomacy help maintain international security? What are the legal implications associated with the wider adoption of digital diplomacy? These are just a handful of questions that scholars in legal and international relations circles face in the coming years.
With technological developments, it is more often than not the case that actors ought to strive towards making the most of newfound capabilities while maintaining an awareness of the associated challenges and risks. At first glance, artificial intelligence and internet communication technologies seem to provide unimaginable capabilities to both official and unofficial actors in their facilitation of dialogue and ability to address pressing global challenges. However, actors must remember to utilise means of eDiplomacy through consideration of the associated risks and underlying international political landscape. To this end, this publication aims to outline how the European Union, the United States and China have implemented means of eDiplomacy, and understand the opportunities and challenges associated with the wider adoption of digital diplomacy. Furthermore, it contends that the seemingly inevitable growth of eDiplomacy requires legal and international relations scholars to make frequent assessments of technology’s overall impact.
Keywords: Digital diplomacy; European Union; United States of America; People’s Republic of China; Artificial intelligence; International security; COVID-19; Public International Law.