Ben Wallace, the UK’s Secretary of Defence, went on record to explain the Defense Command Paper, emphasising reducing the human element while reinforcing defences. This was proposed to be done with the aid of artificial intelligence.
While deploying a defence review, the Secretary of Defence highlighted the necessity for a “digital backbone” that can be established by sharing data over cloud technologies. Orating a speech, Ben Wallace also pointed out that it’s understandable to focus on the number supporting the defence forces, but that also means deploying them at war zones with “Snatch Land Rovers” and tanks. However, on the other hand, the enemy is already advanced and has developed new ways to tackle such elements.
To combat and be ready for future threats, the Defence Command Paper focuses on defence intelligence where it brings into light the importance of AI. Creating and maintaining this digital backbone, Ben Wallace commented that a whopping £1.5 billion would be invested by the UK Strategic Command for the corresponding advancements over the next decade.
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Going into details, the digital backbone’s main purpose will be to share, utilise, and protect huge quantities of information via cloud networks. Using this information, new approaches to training with the help of simulations and synthetics can be developed. This, in turn, can provide a change in scenery the way personnel are educated in the means of warfare and combat.
Focussing on the role of AI in the future, Ben Wallace stated to the media, “We will exploit a wider network of advanced surveillance platforms, classifications of data, and enhanced analysis using artificial intelligence.” Another motivation for identifying future threats with AI is to reduce the number of personnel deployed in warfare.
It is not the first time that the UK leans on the power of AI to strengthen and revolutionise its armed forces. Earlier this month, various military advisors from the country pitched to harness the aid of artificial intelligence to forecast enemy behaviour, execute reconnaissance, and receive real-time data from various combat zones.
Looking at the things happening on a global scale, it is clear that the UK is cloning the US’s move of hosting a new initiative that brought together 13 countries that share the same ideology of implementing AI in the sectors of defence. Unfortunately, India was not invited to join the partnership.
Irrespective to that, India has ensured that the Centre of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIR), a division within the DRDO, has created various AI-based devices aimed at net-centric communication systems. While on the other hand, to support surveillance and reconnaissance, CAIR has invented snake robots, Hexa bots, and sentries equipped with a wide library of AI-based algorithms meant for image and video recognition.
Nevertheless, like all other countries, India is also facing challenges in employing AI in its defence sectors. It is a new phenomenon to various policymakers who are still unclear about the mission and vision of equipping armed forces with AI. Also, the lack of robust infrastructure, which is the bare necessity for introducing such unique technology, is another reason why India is still trailing in terms of defence compared to the likes of Russia, the USA, and China.
But with AI slowly being adopted by more and more countries, it will be interesting to see how India joins the ranks as they will be forced to before long.
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Passionate about all things media and communications. I love being a journalist, though you can see me read a book or watch a classic film in my free time.