AI has been one of the major frontiers of technology for the last 20 years. AI could revolutionise the ways we live and work, giving us more free time to spend with family, or learning new skills.
AI can be trained to do almost anything, as long as there is the data to train it and the connection or interface that allows the system to do what it’s designed to do. This can apply to anything from driving cars to writing movies, with many businesses looking to save money by simply replacing massive amounts of their human workforce with AI algorithms, regardless of the quality of the scripts they churn out, or the amount of people they almost, or indeed do, hit with cars.
Of course, AI can be used to whatever ends it is programmed and trained to do, meaning it could destablise economies, impersonate politicians, and conduct disinformation campaigns.
When facing threats of this sophistication, ironically the only thing that can defend against malicious AI is AI designed to counter it.
There are many valid, and probably highly accurate, concerns that AI will lead to massive job losses around the world, with businesses not wanting to pay a human to do work that a computer could do for free.
When it comes to security and defence however, this replacement of the human factor could lead to many lives being saved. During combat, AI can make faster decisions, analyze new information at speed, and make predictions about how battles may play out. Humans simply cannot work to the same speed, and any loss of time can lead to loss of life.
Military tactics, countermeasures, and technologies are constantly changing and developing. AI needs to be utilised to maximise efficiency and effectiveness.
There are many ways that we will likely see AI applied to defence over the coming years, below are just some of the ways we expect AI to change the defence and security industries.
One of the most obvious ways that AI can help security is by analyzing scenarios for security weaknesses. Every entry point, every potential hiding place, these can be analysed by AI, running simulations to assess the likelihood of a problem in a certain area.
In any security situation, humans might overlook certain things, underestimate the likelihood of certain outcomes, or focus on something that might actually be a distraction. An AI can be trained on previous situations, factoring in variations, and create the most likely scenarios.
AI can also speed up the time it takes to train security personnel. Of course, security and defence training is often extensive, given the nature of the work and the importance that it be carried out correctly. But AI can help create personalised training programmes for new recruits, and help experienced team members upskill as new methods, techniques, and technologies are created.
New training can be updated in real-time, when new tactics are developed to counter the enemy, they can be immediately sent out to all active field members.
Perhaps the biggest area where AI will transform security is cybersecurity. Humans can’t think as fast as a computer, and can’t react fast enough when a cyber attack is underway.
When a security team or defence force is hit by a cyber attack, it can be disastrous, leaving them vulnerable in the field, or having crucial data stolen from their servers which could put other lives at risk. It is vital to have the strongest defences possible against cyber warfare.
An AI can learn and adapt in real-time to emerging threats, and will handle each successive cyber attack better than the previous one, thanks to its ability to learn from past experience.
AI is going to change the world in a lot of ways, not all of it necessarily for the better. But when it comes to security and defence, given how much of the industry already relies on computers, having smarter, faster, more adaptable computers can help keep us safe from growing threats.