Artificial Intelligence And Modern Warfare: Necessity Or Exploitation?

As we progress daily with our lives, our work and our plans for the future, there are many ideas that we come across. The advancement of technology is one area where rapid changes have been made, offering many solutions for people who have been otherwise unable to achieve something valuable or necessary. Technology in today’s world is not only meant to simplify our daily tasks but is also being used to help us break barriers and reach objectives that may formerly have been impossible. However, not all technology is good technology, or in other words, might not result in the best of decisions when given to those most likely to misuse it.

Dependence On Technology

The rapid advancement in technology through wireless services and Artificial Intelligence (AI) has helped us in ways unimaginable before. Today, we are as dependent on technology as we are on basic utilities like food and water. AI is the main source of these new ideas and one must not forget that this field holds the key for our future progress. Many countries are adopting AI to change the way the world looks at them, with the United States, China, Russia, Germany, France and Canada are leading the race in AI. Now one might think what’s the benefit of AI for a nation? The answer is that the main area where these countries and others are planning to use this technology and similar ideas is in weaponry and advanced systems so as to better defend themselves and attain geopolitical dominance. This means investing millions in research, development and execution of advanced AI projects.

The AI Arms Race

Artificial Intelligence today is mostly being used to minimize human errors and go beyond situations that would make everyday life more efficient and independent from external factors. The AI arms race is a very sensitive topic towards which countries pay immense attention. The Pentagon’s budget alone for AI arms stands at a whopping $2 billion. The United States Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper recently stated that arming and advancing the military of the United States through AI is in response to competition brought forward by Russia and China, the two main competitors of the United States in all relevant fields. The United States says that at this point in time, the necessity and priority lies in modernization.

Replacing humans with robots is another point of focus that the United States is rapidly working towards. Hypersonic technologies and weaponizing AI are currently the most important ideas of this new change. A report published by China in 2017 stated that the country is aiming to reach the summit in AI by introducing the technology in weapons through AI-powered guns, advanced computer systems and robots capable of virtually making no mistakes at all. Yes, introducing the technology in weapons may lead to a bigger problem where there will be more competition but at the same time it will reduce the number of lives lost accidentally due to human error. Russia at the same time is also upping its capabilities.

AI Regulation Is Needed

What our systems lack today is sufficient regulation. I believe that if AI is regulated thoroughly, it would help create a safer way to compete and deescalate the arms race. Unrestricted development of such programs will only pave the way for more problems.

The strategies being used by the United States are the ones that have set a benchmark for this new arms race. The United States has the capacity and resources to advance the skills and approach of its military in countless ways. Operations, training, protection and healthcare are all being fitted with artificial intelligence to minimize any potential shortcomings and to give an edge wherever possible. Machine learning, neural networks and computer algorithms are swiftly playing their role in this development which are programmed so as to engage in conflicts with a superior edge in their workings.

Elsewhere in Israel and Russia, the focus has been locked on monitoring and locking potential targets through AI-run systems. Russia is basing its programs on developing autonomous drones and tanks capable of showing great devastation in times of conflicts. While these ideas may seem super-efficient, some experts have questioned the credibility of these rapid advancements. They say that despite modern warfare being a core component of revolutionizing our path towards the future it may have severe consequences.

Artificial Intelligence may be the next best step in getting the massive advantages that we can from a comprehensive revolution and digitalization of technology. Competitive advantage can be gained to make use of opportunities that could not be possible elsewhere. However, an important issue that needs to be addressed is the fact that we as humans must understand that there could be some looming economic, security and social risks that may arise with these new developments. In light of these problems our main focus should be on prevention of bloodshed and using these developments to have a brighter future ahead of us.