Alexa Seleno



Ai in surgery

Artificial intelligence is already shaping war doctrine, and it will continue to define future strategies as the technology matures. Artificial intelligence (AI) will underpin much–if not all–of the cutting-edge technologies of the future, both civilian and military. AI is central not just to future defense technologies but can also help to maintain existing capabilities. In line with the NATO Strategy, the DstL is committed to helping MODs understand how AI can be adopted ethically and responsibly, enhancing defense capabilities at the same time. 

The integrated Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy review puts the strategic benefit of secure AI at the centre of the integrated security review framework. 

Potential applications developed through the framework included autonomous platforms, cyber-nation defense, sensing, logistics, and security. These highly functional, smart robots designed for these kinds of strategic purposes, give the defense industry an upper hand on the technological front. Applications like data collection from national-level databases, practice tools to train troops, bioinformatics, and security options offered by AI technologies could all be optimized using machines. The potential strategic effects of military AI are not exclusive to or exclusive to the technology, however, the possible multiple-faceted overlaps of this disruptive technology with enhanced conventional capabilities makes AI both a danger but also a promise and an attraction.

While most public discussions about artificial intelligence (AI) have focused on Terminator-like killing machines, the UKs official stance is that a human being will always be present in the loop (or at least monitored and capable of interfering) making any life-or-death decisions. Unfortunately, this pretty much ignores defensive uses of AI in many embedded systems, where having a human operator monitor and intervene in a system will render the system too slow for it to be effective: There is little value in having human reaction times involved in processes operating near-light-speed. How NATO would be able to harmonize the approaches of the various countries remains a question, believes Simona R. Soare, Research Fellow in Defence and Military Analysis at the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS). As Chinas military power continues to increase, closing the gap with the U.S., it is almost certain that the two sides will have to establish additional norms, not just in areas such as counter-piracy or disaster response — areas where the two countries have cooperated before — but in regard to space exploration, cyberspace, and AI. 

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