Smart Machines and the Battle of Things

As machine intelligence advances the development of things, we will see more sophisticated intelligence incorporated into robots who will go to battle on our behalf.

What happens when digital business penetrates to the core of how things operate in the military realm? Soon, the rapid advancement of intelligent technology capabilities will give military planners the tools to design robots as autonomous systems that can battle each other using their own sensory “judgment.”

These battles will go beyond virtual warfare, waged computer to computer, and take place in the actual physical world. Bullets may become passé and be replaced by lasers. Ultimately, the evolution of things as robots will transform the concept of warfare as we know it. Defense specialists and politicians can plan battles that greatly reduce the risk of human casualties on the battlefield.

The First Battle of Things

Gartner research predicts that by 2018, the first “battle of things” will occur between autonomous drones and robots leveraging machine intelligence, advanced tactics, advanced communications and advanced weapons. According to Jorge Lopez, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, technologically advanced nations will hold advantages over those that rely on the deployment of purely human armies, and those advanced nations will incur many fewer human casualties on the battlefield. Warfare strategy will pivot around two points: the advancing capabilities of machine intelligence, and the emergence of prototypes that may tend to go outside their intended behavior

Additionally, the role of IT in defense planning will take on a new significance. The much higher speed of machine intelligence will make it impossible for humans to intervene in a meaningful manner without causing great peril. Threats that materialize at the speed of machine intelligence will need a supervisory machine intelligence that can intervene if it deems it appropriate.

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Robots Get Smart

As machine intelligence advances the development of things, we will see more sophisticated intelligence incorporated into robots. Robots will possess the intelligence to go into war and use a combination of artificial and human-oriented knowledge to wage battle. Battles will take place, and will be operated, entirely by autonomous robots and drones using highly sophisticated weapons, including cyberwarfare tools, advanced technology weapons and advanced communication. Human soldiers will rarely be involved.

This rapid technology advancement will transform military planning. The roles of IT professionals will gain new significance for government and military agencies; as they need to create and shape these intelligence defense systems. And the technology-savvy defense specialists — designers — will have more leeway and flexibility in planning battle strategy. Of course, many of these autonomous robots will have advantages over human opponents, and the story of how this advances is still to be written.

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