By Nadir Ali
Anything that is conventional becomes conservative, and anything that is conventional is possessed by the segment of society that grows more conventional. People prefer to follow contemporary trends in the current environment we live in than to hold onto outdated ideas. Technology has been optimized for national defence in the context of the struggle between major powers. Because it is obvious that this conflict between big powers will result in a major reset. There are mergers that are obviously strategic alliances and partnerships in that reset.
Therefore, deterrence and defence are the two fundamental ideas for the countries in the more conventional sense. Both of these concepts – deterrence and defense – have a definite and ongoing role for technology to play. Technology has an increasingly important role to play in each of these concepts, particularly in the strategic and defence domains. This is due to the fact that the current spectrum is squarely between the war and peace extremes.
No peace and no war are the two extremes of the spectrum at the moment. This implies that Pakistan is in a grey area where conflict is currently taking place. This grey area is essentially being disputed in a hybrid manner in which what is popularly known as 5th generation warfare is at the forefront. Technology is supplying the best ways to easily accomplish the best impacts in this grey area through the use of hybrid warfare.
Therefore, any shrewd businessperson would assert that the triangle of aims, ways, and means is always the same. However, during the past 20 years, a circle has emerged within this triangle, and it is made up of technology since both the methods and the means are greatly influenced by it. What resources do people have available to them in terms of both the methods they propose and the way they wish to use those means in order to achieve their goals? Right now, technology is crucial. It is so for a reason, and that reason is that the technology is essentially cross-domain and does not involve those murky areas of thought.
Similarly, technology won’t influence, touch, or rule. As a result, it serves a variety of purposes, which implies that because technology is dynamic and non-static, it gives decision-makers and policy-makers a strategic advantage or leverage to help them achieve their goals. Technology may become obsolete tomorrow if someone touched it now. Like time, it’s, even in nanoseconds, time is always moving forward.
Similar to this, technology never stays the same; there is always an evolution, revolution, or even – according to some – an explosion of seismic natures. As a result, how technology is used is always changing. It is less existential and more futuristic in character. Because of this, the character of war will undoubtedly be impacted by the technical advancements made for national defence in the internal discussion over the nature and character of war. It will redefine the nature of battle and transform, alter, and improve it.
But up to this point, the conflict has moved beyond politics and into the realm of the military, where it has taken on a military logic or grammar. When that happens, the nature of war is unquestionably altered, but up until that point, this contest of wills was between humans because, as homo-sapiens, we believe ourselves to be superior due to our intelligence. This is true whether we are acting in an individual capacity, acting on behalf of a tribe, or acting on behalf of an empire.
There is now at least a theoretical possibility, if not a practical one, that if artificial intelligence development is not controlled, it could result in a conflict between artificial intelligence entities rather than between humans. This would fundamentally alter the nature of war and make it much more unpredictable because human psychology, philosophy, anthropology, history, and culture are all things we are familiar with.
Artificial intelligence will, however, be divided from this very last aspect of human existence. Therefore, there can come a moment when technology changes how war is fought. A fight of mechanical power rather than human will may occur hundreds of years from now. The phrase “He who has the data, rules the world” refers to one of the two main elements that are crucial for this technical optimization.
More importantly, technology will actually produce effects, whereas ways and means are generally not intended to produce them. For instance, technology will produce an effect on disruption; therefore, if someone can disrupt an enemy’s design, that is the primary goal; disruption of force is merely a secondary goal. By using the appropriate technologies, if someone is capable of designing opponents, they may do it more wisely.
Technology can play a key role in ending a war because it will be made possible by enablers such as artificial intelligence, robotics, and nanotechnology, the internet of things, autonomous weapon systems, semi-autonomous weapon systems, and biotechnology weapons. Technology will have an impact on how a war is initiated, shaped, influenced, and how it is ruled.
The core of this upcoming strategic endeavor in the field of combat is technology. Technology will determine the boundaries of your strategic space due to the great power competition that someone will experience but it will still be the game-changer. However, there are two factors that are very crucial. The first is the need for boots on the ground. No matter what advances in technology are made, states will still need boots on the ground to complete the tasks. The second is human resilience, which no amount of technology can match as long as it is recognized, nourished, and refueled in the proper way and is owned by the state.
The writer is associated with the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org