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Technology Takes Over Defence

The world has come a long way since telegrams and letters, now we are creating machines and robots to carry out tasks for us. There is no end to this advancement and the scientists are not getting tired of cresting new technologies anytime soon. These technologies are used in different sectors such as healthcare, E-Commerce, space exploration etc. Read on to see what Perspectoverse's own Suhasini Mitra has to say on Artificial intelligence being used to protect the countries from enemies.


The flow of digital information is expanding on a daily basis making it increasingly difficult to manage and structure it or even to separate what is important from what is superfluous.Although there is a broad consensus on what AI is, i.e., carrying out tasks that can be performed by humans through a computer or digitally-controlled robots, there are diverse opinions about how AI can be achieved. At a time when data science is the new norm in the tech industry, it is perceived — in popular understanding — that it is inseparable from artificial intelligence.

Artificial Intelligence (AI), also dubbed as the Industrial Revolution 4.0, has been making giant strides in scientific and technological innovation across varying fields. It is capable of bringing significant transformations in the way civilian activities and military operations are conducted. Till now, the idea of attaining military superiority was conceivable only to a few countries like the US, China and Russia, who maintain large armed forces. AI, being a dual-use technology, may have interesting implications on the distribution of military power in the future. The possibility of AI-ushered advancements has opened the scope of an arms race where the conventional military capabilities will matter much less as time progresses. As a result, middle powers leading in civilian AI-tech also have the field wide open to compete for hard power.

Leading powers like the US, China and the EU (and France) have their vision documents for research and development programmes in artificial intelligence. To begin with, India should envisage a clear strategic vision regarding the AI on similar lines. Despite resource limitations, India is home to world class academicians in computer science and engineering spread across the IITs, IISc, NITs and IISERs. An academia-industry-policy synergy is of utmost importance to realise the strategic, societal and cultural implications of AI in defence. It will help us to find answers to questions raised in the previous section.

The government should create a supportive ecosystem in which the AI industry in India can thrive. There is a dire need to invest in critical infrastructure so that the data servers lie within the territory. Apart from ensuring strategic independence, it will also address data privacy concerns.

In this light, India is hard-pressed to enter the AI race in defence sooner rather than later. In January 2019, Army Chief Gen. Bipin Rawat was noted to have said that India will be too late if the armed forces do not embrace AI soon enough.

This enhancement to support data-processing may increase the efficiency of algorithms. Algorithms are key components of running AI and may be tailored to counter complex cyber threats. An algorithm is a set of step-by-step instructions given to a computer to accomplish a specific task. AI may push this technology to another level, to achieve intelligent autonomous algorithms. To illustrate these research challenges, Facebook recently abandoned an AI experiment after ‘chatbots’ invented their own language which was not understandable by humans. Computer machines had demonstrated better skills than humans in playing chess or poker. This breakthrough technology is likely to be disruptive in many ways nobody can predict today.

There is only a bright future in front of Artificial Intelligence. The possibilities are endless. The never ending new creations are helping to turn the world into a better place through its contributions in fields of healthcare and defence. This author will have to feed on her own words if the rising need and popularity of technology take a sharp turn towards the lower end.

Written by Suhasini Mitra

Illustrated by Anannya Pincha


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