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AI as a Tool for Degeneration or Regeneration in Warfare

“The rise of AI will either be the worst or the best thing ever to happen to humanity.” Stephen Hawkings implies through his quote the possible destructions or innovations that would define the role of Artificial Intelligence in our lives. Nonetheless, it is clear that the role of AI in warfare will have the most serious consequences for mankind. Just like any other technology the rise of AI sees the assessment of potential risks and benefits associated with it.

Even though AI has progressed in the everyday life such as the development of driverless cars chat-gpt but it still has a long way to go in warfare. Countries like USA and Russia are spending large amounts of their budget for research and development of AI in warfare, but as to yet no perceivable threat is posed by AI in warfare.  There is a potential threat of an AI arms race being waged considering the large amount of R&D budget being divested for AI.

AI as a tool for Degeneration:

First of all, AI can serve to enhance the lethality and destruction in irregular war with minimal resources and manpower. It can perfectly align the scale of destruction with the people and often attack civilians along with combatants leading to unprecedented damages. The autonomous weapons will create large scale destructions with minimal resources. The Unmanned Aerial Vehicles depict the scope of AI, however; they are automated (which require some level of human control) rather than autonomous. These autonomous weapons offer greater level of precision and accuracy in targeting the enemy and hence significantly reduces the human error of missing a target due to its own limitations.

In addition to that, the creation of disinformation and deepfake images and audios which can serve as a source of distrust between the public and its leaders as well as miscommunication between the military and its combatants by propagating false information. The deepfake videos can enlarge the scope of destruction occurred during the war, thereby lowering the morale of the opposition team and creating an imbalance in case of war. Recently, an event occurred when a fake explosion in the pentagon towers was created through deepfake which prompted an immediate response from the stock market and the U.S economy was severely affected by this incident. Even though, it was quickly reported as fake the damage was already done.

Often times, the ability of AI to carry out predictive analysis and decision support system is hailed as a positive ability, however; if this autonomous decision-making is not regulated it can prove to be the biggest threat and can create challenges like disrupting networks and launching attacks which were not anticipated.

The degenerative aspect of AI in warfare will also manifest itself in the employment sector, the deployment of autonomous weapons will significantly reduce the manpower required for the job, thus stripping off a large number people of their jobs. However, this can create a shift in employment opportunities in the AI sector, where experts can learn to develop software and can contribute to the development of more sophisticated AI based technology.

The large-scale exploitation of data which is obtained through surveillance and reconnaissance with the aid of AI will contribute to mass breach of privacy, blackmailing and other such tactics to compel the leaders and military to be subservient to the enemy.

Regeneration in AI:

However, on the flip side the use of AI in warfare can generate prospects of regeneration in warfare. For instance, providing humanitarian aid to combatants can be much faster and coordinated through AI powered vehicles which can accurately calculate the aid required for combatants and can save the number of casualties in case of war. It can also serve to reduce the number of direct attacks on combatants by using autonomous weapons and drones.  The ability of AI to analyze large amounts of data within short amount of time makes it easier to assess the abilities of the opponent efficiently and can provide intelligence regrading the real-time situation of the war-zone.

In the modern warfare, AI has redefined the military capabilities of states. AI can transcript vast amounts of data and translate it for the military officers giving access to important audio communications. It can also intercept encrypted data and provide valuable insights into the rival’s operations and military strategies. For instance, Russia announced that they deployed 80 drones, in Syria for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance and were able to see “everywhere all at once”. Clausewitz has long argued for the benefits of reducing fog of war for ensuring victory and the advent of AI in warfare ensures the reduction of fog of war. Instead of relying on Intelligence sources which are often unreliable or inaccurate AI can provide you reliable and valuable information which is based on real-time situations. Consequently, the military can make more informed decisions and predict the enemy’s pattern and their next move.

The possibility of integrating AI with Alternate Reality provides us with an avenue of creating realistic simulations and training grounds for the military training. These realistic battle-fields will significantly enhance the military’s ability to comprehend the comparative capabilities of the two sides and hence work on their potential strengths or weaknesses. It will also give the military combatants a glimpse of the psychological pressures, the ensuing challenges like scarcity of resources and the geographical hindrances in a war providing the military with an enhanced understanding of war-time conditions and a comprehensive understanding of the enemy’s capabilities. It also offers the military combatants to train with robots which are highly trained and developed, hence polishing their skills in terms of accuracy and precision.

Another significant dimension in the use of AI, is the convergence of cyber warfare with AI systems, which will allow AI-based algorithms to carry out automated attacks to destroy critical infrastructure, but at the same time it will allow the rapid assessment of incurring cyber threats.

Conclusively, if there is a degenerative potential of AI, there is an almost equal if not greater potential of regeneration in warfare through AI. It is crucial to establish Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), for the seamless usage of AI in warfare as it can help in mitigation of risks and offer opportunities of diplomatic resolution of issues through predictive analysis. Only if leaders pay heed to the regenerative aspect of AI, we can reap the full benefits of its positive features.