How artificial intelligence will change the course of wars

How artificial intelligence will change the course of wars
Small, cheap chips routinely guide Russian and Ukrainian drones to their targets (Europe Press/Communications/Dmytro Smolyenko)

The Computer He was born in war and war. Colossus It was built in 1944 to break Nazi codes. In the 1950s, computers organized air defense America. In the following decades, the Artificial intelligence It played a minor role in the war. Now it is going to become essential. Just as the civilian world has seen rapid advances in the power and spread of artificial intelligence (AI), the military world must also prepare for an avalanche of innovation. As much as it changes the nature of warfare, it can prove destabilizing.

The current rapid change has many causes. One is War Crescent, specifically Ukraine. Chives Smaller and cheaper is usually the guide Drones Toward their goals, the Russians and Ukrainians are expanding technology previously limited to a superpower’s missiles. Second, the recent exponential progress of AI enables astonishing achievements in object recognition and high-order problem solving. Third is competition between America and ChinaBoth see AI as the key to military superiority.

The results are more visible In Advances in Intelligent Killing Machines. Airborne and naval drones are critical to both sides in Ukraine in detecting and striking targets. The role of artificial intelligence Remedy for interference, allowing the drone to locate targets even when GPS signals or connection to the pilot are lost. Breaking the communication between the pilot and the aircraft should allow the military to use a much larger number of low-cost munitions. Over time, self-directed swarms will be designed to overwhelm defenses.

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But very visible Military AI It is not very important. As our report illustrates, technology is also revolutionizing Command and control Military officers use it to organize battles.

In the first line, the Drones They represent only the last and most dramatic link in the chain of destruction, a series of steps that begins with the search for the target and ends with the attack. Deep significance I.A Here’s what you can do before a drone strike. As it sorts and processes data at superhuman speed, each bin can be picked out of thousands Satellite imagery Or distinguish light, heat, sound, and radio waves as distortions from real matter.

Far from the front lines, it can solve bigger problems than a drone would face. Today that means simple tasks like deciding which weapon is best suited to destroy a threat. At the right time, “decision support systems” can quickly make sense of a confusing problem War and over a wide area, perhaps the entire battlefield.

The consequences are only now becoming clear. It seems that systems Artificial intelligencewith Autonomous robots Find and destroy targets on land, sea and air, at unprecedented speed and mass.

The pace of these types of battles can change the balance between soldier and software. Today, armies keep a man “in the loop” and approve every fatal decision. Humans can simply “sit in the loop” as part of a human-machine team, as searching for and attacking targets is reduced to minutes or seconds. People monitor the computer without interfering with every activity.

The paradox is that even when Day IA By giving a clearer picture of the battlefield, the dangers of war become more opaque to the people fighting it. There will be less time to stop and think. As models increasingly express verbal judgments, their output becomes harder to scrutinize without giving an adversary a dangerous advantage. If armies don’t give their AI advisors more control, they fear being defeated by an enemy. Faster warfare and fewer pauses make it difficult to negotiate cease-fires or stop escalation. This favors defenders, who can crouch while attackers break cover as they advance. Or AI-enabled forces can prompt attackers to strike early and with great force to take down the sensors and networks they depend on.

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Based on the size of the battle Artificial intelligence It means that massive, industrial weight will become far more important than it is today. You might think that new technologies would allow forces to become more agile. But if software can pick out tens of thousands of targets, armies will need tens of thousands of weapons to hit them. If the defender has the advantage, the attacker will need more weapons to break through.

That is not the only cause of war I.A Supports big countries. The Drones They may be cheap, but digital systems that interconnect the battlefield can be very expensive. Building AI forces will require huge investments Cloud servers Capable of handling confidential information. Today’s existing armies, navies and air forces need to be integrated into their own data silos. Training models requires access to large amounts of data.

Any great country does I.A? That was once thought China Its data collection has an advantage because of its control over private industry and its relaxed ethical restrictions. However, now America It appears to be at the forefront of frontier models that could shape the next generation of military artificial intelligence. Ideology is important: It is unclear whether the forces of authoritarian states that value centralized control can take advantage of technology that brings intelligence and knowledge to the lowest tactical levels.

If the first combat motivation I.A, international law is likely to be relegated to the background. All the more reason to think today about how to limit destruction. China Pay attention For US call to reject AI control Nuclear weaponsFor example. Once a war begins, public hotlines are more important than ever. AI systems aimed at maximizing military advantage must be coded with values ​​and constraints that human commanders take for granted. These include placing an implicit value on human life (how many civilians is it acceptable to kill in pursuit of a high-value target?) and preventing some disruptive attacks, such as nuclear early-warning satellites.

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The uncertainties are profound. The only certainty is change motivation I.A approaches. Forces that anticipate and master technological advances most quickly and effectively will prevail. All others are likely victims.

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