Technology will render modern warfare obsolete

Warfare is being transformed by the information revolution and attempts to define and prepare more efficient and effective military technology continues to gain momentum.

New systems, driven by emerging Internet of Things (IoT) domains, are selectively engineering advanced capabilities to meet the anticipated needs for warfare in the new millennium.

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Such technologies, when used for military applications, yield the potential to radically change the balance of power between citizens and their governments, Ethan Nash details.
Battlefield of the future. Photo: ASE

RAISING THE STAKES

Technology has always been a major contributing factor to the advancement and development of war equipment. It has played a significant role in the way warfare been conceptualised.

Historical visions of futurists haven’t always matched the experiences of military personnel, but the battlefields of the future will bear little resemblance to the ‘war zones’ of today.

Warfare is a theatre show (hoax), however, increased propaganda surrounding efforts to ‘minimise’ the risk of warfare is, in fact, leading towards more automation and more developed weapons.

In the future, wars will be completely conducted via technological means, while soldiers are redirected against their real enemy — free humanity.

To start, technology is becoming more precise. Warfare equipment built is so advanced, and the desire to develop smaller, faster and more evasive equipment has become necessary to avoid any detection by the ‘enemy’.

For example, drones have become a key asset to military forces across the world. Larger drones are currently limited by their radar observability, but stealth technology is set to change that.

The US Department of Defence launched demonstrations of a ‘micro-drone’ swarms in California in 2017, consisting of 103 drones collaborating in decision-making and adaptive formation.

Autonomous stealth drones, such as the Taranis aircraft designed by British arms manufacturer BAE Systems, can find and identify a target, while requesting permission to strike from a human operator. These aircrafts have been purchased by the Australian government.

It goes deeper. BAE Systems envisions a future of organic drones “grown” in laboratories by digitising synthetic materials and chemistry on a molecular level with a machine called a Chemputer.

This is just one example Drones are not the only mechanism of warfare that is set to radically change in the future, with new systems being developed containing the ability to fundamentally shift balances of power.

These areas include robotics and autonomous unmanned systems, artificial intelligence, biotechnology (including synthetic and systems), cognitive neurosciences, nanotechnology, additive manufacturing (3D printing) and the intersection of each with information and computing.

Warfare of the future will almost certainly entail strategies and scenarios once thought to only be conjured in the minds of science fiction writers.

THE FUTURE WORLD

Future means of warfare won’t be too dissimilar from technology available today, such as unattended ground sensors, guided missiles and drones.

However, it is also likely to include physical robots and AI systems — from those as small as insects, to vehicles that carry machines and supplies.

The origins of future wars are already here, being laid in policies and ambitions, rivalries and resources, greed and grievances.

The technologies that will be used to dominate are already being implemented and their continued development and will bring more conflict, chaos and fear to cities.

Proxy and civil wars will continue to flourish, as will conflicts on the peripheries of ‘power blocs’.

Autonomous weapons will select and engage targets without human intervention, and on the ground, given the dangers of physically entering cities, drones will offer a ‘safer’ alternative. [10] 

Drone swarms, consuming everything in their path like a biblical plague, will bring to life the vision of dystopian authors. Paranoia will pervade the sky, which might look empty, but harbour invisible threats.

Underwater drones will also patrol the sea and domestic borders. We have already seen announcements of these plans in Australia

Furthermore, land-based robots are likely to strike terror into city dwellers, while collecting information amidst the fog of confusion they create.

Citizens will watch them make their way through streets, and designs will range from mechanical dogs, to apes and human beings.

In fact, the ethics of autonomous warfare has become a contemporary crusade. There is a ‘Campaign to Stop Killer Robots’, with signatories such as Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk urging caution.

The new arms race is already on, and it’s profitable. Importantly, there will likely emerge a grey area as to what counts as a ‘killer robot’, given that automated weapons systems are already being used for defensive positions and it is easy to portray ‘war robots’ as a humanitarian advance.

Indeed, the roots of future conflicts are already here. Trade wars, territorial disputes and resource grabs bubble away.

International institutions promoting development and stability are being undermined by exceptionalism, while crucial urban infrastructure gets acquired by state agents. 

This type of warfare could possibly be devastating in the age of the ‘smart city’, and with political disinformation campaigns rife across the internet, military deception will go digital.

Even an ‘ethical’ attack on infrastructure, rather than civilians, would result in misery. Destroyed airports, downed bridges, disabled power stations and disrupted communication networks will tear daily life asunder.

Furthermore, advances in facial-recognition and surveillance software will be used identify targets and single out specific groups or individuals, facilitating repression (or worse). 

This technology is already aiding China’s authoritarian ‘Social Credit System’, set for an Australian debut, and is predicted set the stage for granular information to service formal conflicts.

Greater connectivity means greater vulnerabilities, and as these changes persist, the very nature of warfare will fundamentally shift from physical campaigns to missions fought in the digital realm.

LEARN MORE

This feature piece continues to cover:

Traditional vs Modern Warfare, The Evolution of Warfare Science, Advanced Technology and Artificial Intelligence, Perpetual Warfare and much more!

Ethan Nash from TOTT News has published this article in the latest Special Edition of New Dawn Magazine — available in newsagents across Australia or directly online by clicking the link below: 


RELATED INFORMATION

New Dawn Special Issue 14 Vol. 3| New Dawn Magazine

$190 million drone coming to Australia | Sydney Morning Herald

Maritime drones: the future of Australian border security | Australian Strategic Policy Institute

A Global Arms Race for Killer Robots Is Transforming the Battlefield | TIME Magazine

The War Hoax Explained (Two Hour Presentation) | John le Bon


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