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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Artificial Intelligence and future warfare

AI research is ongoing in the military sector, such as robot military, cyber operations, command and control, and intelligence collection. Robots military will be capable of doing perfectly some military operations in future warfare across the globe.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has proved to be a path-breaking experience in many fields in the contemporary world. AI is catching the attention of defense professionals, policymakers, entrepreneurs, and multinational corporations around the globe. The pioneer of AI, John McCarthy, defines it as “the science and engineering of making intelligent machines, brilliant computer programs.” The capacity of AI generally refers to the ability of machines to outperform human actions in terms of intelligence, judgment, autonomy, and knowledge discovery.

AI has the potential to develop software applications based on self-learning that replicates the qualities of the human mind, resembling decision-making, problem-solving, reasoning, planning, etc. However, Stephen Hawking, a renowned scientist, viewed AI as both destructive and constructive for human beings at the same time. Similar views are also underlined by experts, developers and practitioners of AI technology.

Read more: Artificial Intelligence in military affairs: prospects and perils

Impacts of AI technology

AI technology can impact security paradigm developments and may create diverse national and international security challenges. For instance, AI could enhance military actions’ range and pace and make autonomous operations possible. However, it may be unpredictable or vulnerable to eccentric forms of manipulation. Consequently, researchers have different views regarding the influential role of AI in future warfare and special operations. Very few scholars believe that AI will have little impact on national security. In contrast, many researchers, field experts and analysts believe AI will have significant national and global security implications.

In the global context, AI will play a significant role in future warfare; in this regard, strategic rivals the U.S, China, and Russia are making considerable investments in AI technology to achieve national security objectives. Particularly, the U.S ministry of defense is investing multi-billion dollars in integrating AI with its defense system. As such, the U.S, China, Russia, and other states are developing AI applications for military functions and strategic purposes.

In this context, the Beijing administration released a strategy in July 2017 to play a leading role in AI by 2030. Within two months, President Putin says publicly Russian intent to pursue AI technologies. He said, whoever becomes the leader in this (AI) field will rule the world. Likewise, in January 2018, the U.S national defense strategy identified AI as a powerful technology that will “ensure the U.S will be able to fight and win the future warfare.”Autonomous weapon systems made with the assistance of Artificial Intelligence have been instrumental in enhancing national security. In this regard, militaries could engage AI in multiple ways, including target identification and engagement.

Artificial Intelligence has already been incorporated into the U.S military operations in Syria and Iraq. AI research is ongoing in the military sector, such as robot military, cyber operations, command and control, and intelligence collection. Robots military will be capable of doing perfectly some military operations in future warfare across the globe. However, the ongoing evolution of AI in the military sector will impact strategic stability by changing the aspects of military supremacy regionally and globally. Integrating AI into security matters may increase a new arms race among regional and global rivals and competitors. Furthermore, this integration would significantly affect the nuclear domain in the near future.

Read more: Artificial intelligence copilot flew a US military plane for the first time

In the regional context, India is increasingly interested in the potential advantages of AI for military applications due to its hegemonic aspirations in South Asia. In this regard, India has established a laboratory, “The Center for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIR)”, under the Defense Research Development Organization (DRDO). CAIR-DRDO aims to integrate AI technology with the Indian defense system. Furthermore, in 2019, the Indian Army Chief Bipin Rawat underlined the full-spectrum integration of AI technology in military systems as soon as possible.

India is collaborating with Japan to employ AI technology in its defense sector

Pakistan has perceived the AI technology-based development in the Indian defense sector. In this regard, to maintain strategic stability in the South Asian region, Pakistan has taken some initiatives in the field of Artificial Intelligence, such as establishing the department of robotics and intelligence machine learning at the NUST and the National Center of Artificial Intelligence (NCAI). However, Pakistan’s ongoing AI technology developments are limited compared to Indian investments. Pakistan should increase its investment in Artificial Intelligence technology to ensure national security and strategic deterrence.

To sum up, AI has several implications for national and global security. It could further blur the lines of warfare. AI-based autonomous weapons will likely cause another arms race among global and regional competitors. Resultantly the state would build the AI-weapon inventory to have the strategic and operational edge.

Read more: Can Artificial Intelligence Help us Track China virus?

This would boost the militarization of AI regionally and globally, affecting strategic stability. This may be why the analysts highlight the disadvantages posed by the AI technology renaissance in the defense sector in the current era. AI is a rapidly growing part of technology with considerable implications for global and national security. Indeed, AI will change the face of warfare in the near future.


Written by Dr. Iqtidar Hussain

The writer is an Associate Director of Research at Strategic Vision Institute (SVI). The views expressed by the writers do not necessarily represent Global Village Space’s editorial policy.