From Gunpowder To Artificial Intelligence, A Momentous Transformation Of Warfare

From Gunpowder To Artificial Intelligence, A Momentous Transformation Of Warfare
The rise of the unmanned aerial vehicles used for air strikes and aerial photography, self-driving cars, industrial robots and chatbots reiterate the fact that we are living in a time of astounding technological evolution which tends to be a game changer in a world which is already full of players. Artificial intelligence is to program computers and enable them to perform tasks associated with intelligent beings. The English mathematician Alan Turing was one of the first few people who started research on intelligent machines after the WW11 and he argued in his article that if a machine could pretend to possess human like qualities to a knowledgeable observer, then it could be considered intelligent.

Today the field of artificial intelligence is making progress by leaps and bounds and is actively shaping the future of humanity as it boasts numerous success stories by boosting productivity in various sectors. Similarly contemporary warfare is being replaced by man less drones, cyber warfare and pilot less aircrafts. Although preparedness for war tends to be one of the most efficacious means towards preserving peace but at the same time the application of artificial intelligence to the evolution of warfare is rapidly transforming the current state of art of war at a relatively blazing fast pace. Hence it is equally imperative to derive necessary preventive frameworks in order to tackle the destabilising impacts of ever-growing rapid proliferation of autonomous weapon systems fused with artificial intelligence.

Contemporary warfare is being replaced at an alarming rate. Sooner than later a soldier standing on the frontline will be guided by a portable command and control device coupled with provision of effective navigation system from aerial drones. Modified F-16 fighter jets are already being flown under simulated AI control and engaging in dog fight style manoeuvres, thus changing landscape for war fighters and soon will be capable of undertaking tasks and missions on their own. Meanwhile Russia has been testing its autonomous tank like vehicles.

Similarly defense against cyber threats using artificial intelligence can reduce the impact of cyber-attacks. The United States air force sixth generation air superiority initiative is another futuristic designed program where approximately 1000 drone wingmen will operate alongside 200 piloted planes. Each manned fighter craft will be supported by unmanned drones, thereby creating history using advanced manufacturing techniques. It is increasingly plausible that the next big wars might use artificial intelligence which would eventually lead to massive transformation with respect to pace and scale of war.

However, in an otherwise relatively competitive market for highly skilled robotics, the defence industry requires a cutting-edge approach to modernize its military technology through research, experimentation, and development.

In order to revolutionise the military industry and enable it to meet the demands of the futuristic technology, heavy investments and financial support coupled with highly trained engineers is inevitable, which would not only help to gain momentum but eventually promise profitable accomplishment.

Effective multidisciplinary AI development in the defense sector requires a range of specialists including cyber professionals in order to make maximum use of AI talent pool along with implication of digital literacy and appropriate training.  Technical limitations with respect to artificial intelligence software can cause hinderance towards successful implementation. For instance, outdated devices are incapable of taking on the challenge rewarding performance. Similarly engineers responsible for designing sophisticated apparatus must be well equipped with necessary software and hardware expertise.

This makes it imperative for defence companies and industries to revolutionise their learning methods in order to become part of future machine learning and thereby prevent faulty operations. Funding also tends to be a critical issue as it can negatively impact the capacity to develop these autonomous systems. So far implementation and integration of AI autonomous systems in the military sector has been relatively slow and defence industry is lagging behind its commercial counterparts in terms of technological innovations.

In order to overcome this deficiency, serious commitments to strategic investments can ensure reasonable support for research programs in order to grasp incredible opportunities and  face future challenges.

Nonetheless, massive proliferation of artificial intelligence can have dire implications on future warfare with respect to safety and reliability. For instance, nuclear armed states could use nuclear drones to intimidate other weaker states with the risk of causing unpredictable damage, eventually leading to military escalation.

Recent developments in artificial intelligence will have significant impact on military power, ranging from battle field to the strategic level. Hence a powerful interplay of AI enabled guided missiles and lethal autonomous weapons where on one hand offers unparallel opportunities and services for the future of defence security but at the same time it also requires us to utilise this concept with utmost responsibility as autonomous weapon system blur the clear line of accountability.

Safeguarding fundamental values and following the required moral codes and ethics is highly desirable as it guarantees minimal devastation of life and property. For this purpose, transparency in the usage of AI should be encouraged allowing scrutiny across the board and any raised concerns should be addressed adequately.

Recently, the United States department of defence has issued a new directive on autonomous systems. Meanwhile the Pentagon’s artificial intelligence office is experimenting with AI and its worldwide trials are focused to advance its vision of connectivity.

The collaboration of AI and defence systems could prove effective in making war less lethal and avoid collateral damage but at the same time the advancements in robotic technology will eventually make it unstoppable and future conflict will take many forms, making the future war scenario increasingly blurred. Our engagement in war will change in un expected ways, therefore a regular check on such disastrous escalations is imminent.

Collaborative engagement globally in the form of global treaties is mandatory, focusing on regulatory framework to prohibit gruesome outcomes of the planned massacres. States need to re-examine precautionary policies to improve protection outcomes for conflict affected communities.

And last but not the least, for a more humane mindset to prevail, countries across the globe need a shift in their policy of pouring massive resources towards sophisticated robotic weaponry and rather take the road less travelled which  of course leads towards cooperation and peace.