We grew up watching killer robots, terminators and flying drones in Hollywood movies. The automated weapons, the calculative computer operated missiles, the robots with intelligence and emotions are all part of the real world now and not just a writer’s figment of imagination. Not only are they here for real but also doing some commendable job for our defence forces.
The Indian defence sector, especially the army, has benefited from the advancements in AI. Here are a few transformative changes:
- Intelligent and Unmanned Weapons: This is a huge life-saver! Unmanned drones, aerial vehicles, underwater missiles and robotic fighter jets can reach places which are not accessible by humans. Without saying, it reduces deaths of our brave soldiers. The precision and accuracy of these AI powered missiles and vehicles are astounding. The intelligent support to command decision-making makes these weapons powerful.
- Logistics and Supply Chain Management: The defence forces depend considerably on timely logistics of food, weapons and other war-related materials. AI backed logistics helps in delivering on difficult terrains, reduces the overall cost, increases efficiency and drastically reduces wastage.
- Cyber Warfare: There is no argument that machine-on-machine warfare is more efficient than machine-on-human, except for in Bollywood superhero movies. Through Machine Learning, Big Data Analysis, Statistical Analysis and Pattern Matching, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks can be detected. Deep neural networks can be used in intrusion detection and prevention. AI can make positive impact on both offensive and defensive capabilities of our task forces making it the future of cyber operations.
- Cognitive Tactical Analysis: Post analysis of the battlefield, Tactical AI creates a set of coherent orders, named Course of Action or COA. Ideally, this analysis is much more accurate than what is performed by the Subject Matter Experts( human SMEs) in this field. Other examples of Tactical applications of AI are :
- Identify mines using mine sweeping drone bots and deactivate them.
- Sight enemy tanks, irrespective of their distance or appearance.
- Training of soldiers using VR simulations
- Counter already fired missiles by tracking them down and shooting it.
CAIR from DRDO has been working on Multi Agent Robotics Framework (MARF) that will present a line of robots for the Indian army. Interesting yet useful robots that has been built by CAIR include wall-climbing robot, wheeled robot and snake robot. An entire team has been dedicated to work on “Robot perceptions” by CAIR that helps in the creation of intelligent machines. Another example is that the timing of infiltration can be detected and predicted by the technology developed by Crone Systems, Delhi based firm. Missile imaging for target identification is provided by Trombo Imaging, Bangalore based firm.
What could go wrong in the future?
What if a machine decided to kill someone, who would be responsible for it? If these AI powered machines fell onto the hands of terrorists, wont it be misused? The next generation warfare will be something that none of us imagined. But it is up to a lot of legal, ethical, technical factors to decide if it happens with less number of errors.