Is your military AI-ready?

Asia AI News
2 min readJun 28, 2019

According to the news media, there is enormous focus on AI development in the defence space and, in fact, global military spending on AI is projected to reach nearly $19 billion per annum by 2025.

Virtually anyone with a social media account must have now seen the Boston Dynamics videos of Atlas and his robot pals. Military aircraft, vehicle and systems manufacturers are heavily invested in AI and other new technologies. However, a great deal of a nation’s AI development for defence purposes has nothing to do with robots or even weapons and every government, one could easily assume, is doing it. Or are they?

Two of the world’s most digitally capable nations — Japan and Singapore — both seemingly admit that they have fallen behind in AI defence race. This month we saw news of Japan’s defence ministry allocating new budget next year for AI in attempt to catch-up with other countries (presumably they are not talking about smart robotics), plus Singapore’s Defence Science and Technology Agency listing all the things that they might do with AI if they had the solutions. Both countries are already investing in UVs and UAVs, but much of that tech is developed by the UV and UAV product manufacturers.

Meanwhile, this week’s op-ed in India’s Tribune by retired Air Vice Marshal Manmohan Bahadur voices concerns about India’s inability to leverage AI to wage an ‘infowar’. A recent study ranks India third in AI research globally and another ranks the country third in APAC for AI readiness. So, one would have thought that AI-powered cyber-warfare would be ‘right up their street’.

Governments do have a wide range of defence needs from logistics and transportation, to data processing and cyber-security, to threat monitoring and, of course, warfare platforms. The reality may just be that some countries are just further along the road with some AI requirements than others. And, unless you’re China or the U.S., your military AI is always going to lag behind in some respect.

Originally published by Carrington Malin in Asia AI News daily email newsletter on 27 June 2019.

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