Artificial Intelligence – or AI – applications are affecting the character of war and international security more broadly in a variety of ways. Our human history of war features a long succession of new technologies that have affected how wars were fought. From the rifle to the radar, from the sword to the submarine, and from the telegraph to the tomahawk: each time that new technologies appeared they inspired utopian but certainly also dystopian views of how that particular technology or weapon system would dramatically affect the character of war.
What is different this time around is the fact that there is not “one AI system.” Instead, there is a vast range of algorithmic applications that together represent an all-purpose technology that affects the character of war across its many dimensions and throughout the entire OODA loop, which is military speak for observe-orient-decide-and act. This technology is relevant both on and off the battlefield, and in times of war as well as peace.
On the battlefield, this is already generating significant changes that are increasing armed forces’ battlefield effectiveness, through better situational awareness and understanding, and shortening decision-making cycles through decentralised command networks with compressed kill chains in so-called battle clouds. But how are Algorithms are also unlocking new realms in which conflict actors seek to exert influence?
Read Tim Sweijs’ remarks at The Summit on Responsible Artificial Intelligence in the Military Domain: REAIM, The Hague, held on the 15 and 16 February 2023.
Author: Tim Sweijs with contributions from Tara de Klerk