- Artificial Intelligence (AI) – The Past
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) – The Present
- Virtual Reality (VR)
- Augmented Reality (AR)
- Deep Learning (DL)
- Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR)
- Fifth Generation Warfare
- The Modern Warfare
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) – The Future
- The Future of Warfare
- Incorporation of Military and Commercial Robots
- Artificial Intelligence – Pros and Cons
- Autonomous Weapons
- Automated Target Recognition (ATR)
- The Technological Evolution of Society
- Implications and Ethical Scenarios of the Future of Modern Warfare
There was a time, not long ago, when intelligent machines and the threat that they posed to the human race were pure science fiction. Optimistic movies like Star Wars, where humans had total control over Artificial Intelligence (AI), would build entire inter-galactic narratives using imaginations, fantasies, fears, and fascinations of the present. Other movies explored another, darker side of this relationship where robots are superior, smarter and more intelligent.
These then morphed into buzzwords and technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Deep Learning (DL) and went on to give birth to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and Fifth Generation Warfare. The least talked about area, however, where technology and humans interact, is modern warfare. Drone swarms, self-driving tanks, and autonomous sentry guns, etc.
This also defined and shaped the future of warfare. Both military and commercial robots now incorporate artificial intelligence that would soon enable them to undertake missions on their own. A hotly contested debate, though, is centered on the possible ways of controlling the development of autonomous weapons. Moreover, various worried stakeholders are questioning whether or not artificially intelligent machines should be allowed — at all — to execute such military missions, especially if there is a possibility of them endangering human lives. We have already seen intense criticism over the CIA-led use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in Africa, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
The primary concern is around the point that Autonomous Weapons can be classified as those that have the capability of functioning at some level without human input or supervision. In fact, the element of “Autonomy” is already at play in such weapons’ systems it is used to support these weapons’ capabilities such as mobility, targeting, intelligence, and interoperability.
Automated target recognition (ATR) systems, the technology that enables weapon systems to acquire targets autonomously, has existed since the 1970s. ATR systems still have limited perceptual and decision-making intelligence, unlike humans. Their performance rapidly deteriorates as operating environments become more cluttered and weather conditions deteriorate.
Given its immense importance for the technological evolution of society, it is clear that an arms race is already underway because AI is fundamentally changing how militaries wage wars. China’s President, Xi Jinping, for example, spoke to the Central Military Commission in 2016 and called on it to move ahead with fusing advanced technologies like big data, cloud computing and AI for the Communist Party’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
Since the implications and ethical scenarios of future of modern warfare look grim, not strategically developing AI for the military is not an option because the marriage of AI and warfare cannot be reversed, or let us say, is increasingly becoming unavoidable. This advancement is inevitable and, presumably, irreversible trend.
Winning in AI conflict will require the ability to defeat the stealth radar masking aircraft, ships, submarines and missiles and jamming enemy electronic warfare by imposing communications silence, using cyber-attacks to take over rival networks and utilizing unbreakable secure quantum communications. Monetising Big Data, arguably the most precious economic asset now, will fuel this next model of advanced warfare.
The current Russian investigation in the US, or occasional mutual allegations — among the US, Russia, and China — of hacking into their respective critical systems also illustrates the extreme importance of AI even in inter-state relations. AI is likely to be the tool to measure a rival nation’s intellectual strengths.
Courtesy: Saad Gul
The writer has a business administration and marketing background and is an upcoming private entrepreneur in Islamabad. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org