Safety amid global ice
No longer relegated to a side gig, technology is being embedded into nearly every new piece of equipment that enters the battlefield
As military and technology come together to overcome the frozen state of the world’s defense and the intersection of the roles of technology with the audience West AFCEA, it is clear that the world of global war has changed. No longer relegated to a side gig, technology is being embedded into nearly every new piece of equipment that enters the battlefield, and it’s changing the perceived responsibility of technology – technology can now kill.
Long gone are the days of hackers in your mother’s basement patching kernels; technology is now grappling with making itself good enough for war. While rebooting servers solves a lot of tech problems, it’s more difficult in missiles.
Also, it simultaneously eliminates war and brings terror right in your face. The prevailing belief is that future conflicts will be largely robot-on-robot, but they will collect powerful impact images of people running for their lives and channel them directly to our screens in very personal ways.
Also, because technology seems so much less personal, censorship can be sent farther into conflict without fully imparting power if destroyed, changing the geopolitical optics of what it means to go to war. I’m not sure we ever meant to, but technology platforms will be the future of proxy wars.
One conversation revolved around mining ports thwarting ship-based attacks, but one panelist argued we should let technology do the work. There’s no need to blow up ships in port when you can stop a country’s ability to transfer products by hacking into the cranes needed to load and unload containers, which can have a similar disabling effect.
Speaking of effects, there’s a school of thought trying to tie the data feed directly to the person holding the gun, so that person can more clearly focus on the net effect, and only use the data as an enabler. But thinking further ahead, an entire constellation of defenses can directly produce a certain effect by feeding a set of data to a set of weapons that can ALL focus on a certain effect, say, limiting beach landings. This disaggregated approach can be a force multiplier on a large scale, far more effectively than a typical data-enabled fighter with great night coverage that can paint targets to suggest drone targets.
As it turned out, bringing a horde of data onto the battlefield of the future was hard, really hard. While we could argue in theory that the pieces to getting there are mostly there, we know from the tech ecosystem that playing well together is incredibly difficult, especially in hostile environments, like when people shoot at your equipment and data links evaporate into piles. shrapnel shaped mushroom cloud.
Either way, geopolitical forces have entered a kind of technological arms race. It is always difficult to conceptualize the future of war and conflict; going forward it would also be much more difficult to find what could be used as a weapon.
Technology stacks, however, can serve multiple purposes within the same machine. What may appear to be an innocent icebreaker, for example, may also focus on the covert secondary role of expansive, high-resolution mapping for future military initiatives, and nobody is the wiser.
In the meantime, securing all of them will be daunting at the very least, and a continuing challenge for the foreseeable future. Moreover, we continue to hope that technology will be used to make the world a better place, not tear it apart – we still hope for it, dream about it, and work for it.