New Challenges in AI & National Security – Rising Kashmir

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AI has attracted attention of policymakers and defense analysts because of its immense potential in the defense sectors. Recent developments in AI, for instance, have brought transformation in the domain of hybrid warfare. The US National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI) stated that AI “will be a source of enormous power for the companies and countries that harness them”.   The proliferation of AI is driving changes in the information domain, economic domain and military domain. In information operations, AI has immensely enhanced capabilities for not only data collection but also advanced analysis and creation of data. AI-enabled systems have been widely used for image classification from drone footage, geospatial data analysis, audio and video analysis and detection of forgeries, and deep fakes. Private investments in AI rose to US$ 93.5 billion in 2021, which is more than double the investments made in 2020 and the revenues are expected to surpass US$ 300 billion by 2024. McKinsey estimates that AI has the potential to deliver additional global economic activity of around US$13 trillion by 2030.5 AI has penetrated the private sector so seamlessly that almost every organization today is either implementing AI into their systems and products or is planning to adopt it in their organizational architecture. It is being widely acknowledged that AI has the potential to start another industrial revolution where the population size will become less significant for national power. In the military domain, AI is enabling new autonomous capabilities and making them affordable to a wide range of actors. The dual use of AI has given weak states and non-state actors more visibility and options to ramp up their capabilities. The use of AI in the cyber domain has led to the automation of various tasks, from advanced persistent threat operations to intrusion detection and prevention systems that are available for both offensive and defensive purposes. The military potential of AI has transformed the nature of battlefields, with more autonomous systems coming into the security landscape. The interplay of this technology with the defense systems has enhanced asymmetric warfare options. There are diverse applications of AI in the military, including in the area of ISR; Military Logistics; Cyber Space Operations; Information Operations and Deep Fakes; Integrated Command and Control; Semi-Autonomous and Autonomous Systems; and LAWS. The effective use of AI in applications in rockets, missiles, aircraft carriers, and naval assets and its integration in C4I2SR has made AI an essential factor in national security architecture. Currently, more than 50 countries have published their National AI strategies to harness the benefits of this technology while addressing the challenges and risks associated with its fair use and governance. According to the Policy Note by Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), national AI policies of over 60 countries have been published. Canada and Finland were among the first few countries to come out with their National AI strategies in 2017. Countries like the US and China have integrated AI into their military capabilities and enhanced their asymmetric means of warfare. The following sections will examine the efforts of the US, China in the field of military AI and place India’s efforts in context. The US is investing heavily to develop “next generation air dominance” technology that could include sixth-generation fighters and drones. Some examples include AI-based projects like Project Maven, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Squad X Experimentation programme, and the OFFSET programme, which has been successfully deployed in Iraq and Syria to identify insurgents. Military logistic software (IBM Watson software for predictive maintenance of aircraft and Ground vehicles—Stryker fleet), cyberspace operations, autonomous vehicles like the Loyal Wingman programme (autonomous F-16), RCVs, and swarm drones are some other applications that the US is developing and deploying successfully. AI-enabled software like Clearview AI, SpaceKnow and Snorkel AI support federal efforts in identifying people, gathering geospatial data and analysing signals and adversary communications for high-value information, respectively. The US released its National Defense Strategy in 2018 that termed AI as one of the critical technologies that will ensure the US can fight and win wars in the future. In 2019, the US released its AI Strategy stating that “It is paramount for US to remain a leader in AI, to increase its prosperity and national security.”

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