Advances in technology are already fueling armed conflict. However, in the near future, what will war look like? Between artificial intelligence and genetic manipulation, it’s a safe bet that many differences will appear.
The US military has long been the strongest in the world and will remain so for some time to come. Recently, a branch of the US Department of Defense was declassified, it is the Strategic Capabilities Office (SCO) or Office of Strategic Capabilities. Its director, William Roper, recently gave an hour-long presentation giving his vision of the war of the future.
The interested party spoke on Monday, March 13, 2017, at the South by Southwest Music Conference and Festival (SXSW), a festival bringing together music, film and interactive media. William Roper, who said he was interested in the world of video games, portrayed some ambitions attributed to the SCO. The least we can say is that it gives goosebumps!
According to William Roper, his office is “very active in this area”imagining various virtual reality applications such as markers in space allowing members of his group to be informed of the presence of enemies who are hiding or even the appearance in the field of vision of a small map of the field of battle.
“Video games try to mimic war as best they can. I wouldn’t be surprised if we started waging war like in video games, the strategic skills that are developed at a high level [par les joueurs] can be valuable to us. »
War as in the past? Surely not ! The director of the SCO imagines a front line composed essentially of robots controlled by men « withdrawn ». This makes sense when we consider that currently, drones already allow humans to act on the battlefield without being there directly. For William Roper, we are moving towards an automation of war or at least of part of the warlike tasks.
“The drone as we know it today, which certainly works remotely, but with a pilot, is not a new idea: the concept dates back to the Second World War. There, we will be able to delegate the decision-making. That’s one of the things we’ll have to look at: how do you make a good quarterback out of a human? [le “stratège” au football américain] of a team of machines that act autonomously under his supervision. »
However, this automation will always be human-supervised simply because “our brains are processors that detect patterns or perform risk calculations that are difficult for computers to do. You have to combine the two”.
During his speech, William Roper raised the issue of data that will be increasingly used to optimize the operation of military bases, but another element questions him, namely genetic manipulation:
“We don’t know what genetic modification can do. Making a perfect soldier, giving him abilities that he doesn’t naturally have… It will be the “Wild West” for a while. If we can make people stronger, faster, should we do so and to what extent? But we cannot avoid the question. »
According to the director of the SCO, it will depend on the States. There will be those who will ask themselves the right ethical questions and others who will not make much of it, not hesitating to try to modify humans to improve them.
Sources: Wired – The World