Much of the focus is on the U.S., China, and Russia, but I wonder who else is doing it?
Several years ago, a leading thinker on the application of modern IT to the military noted that it could represent an historic change: Throughout history, military power depended mostly on the quantity of two resources, wealth and population. But AI is much less strongly dependent on those things: You don't need lots of people; the robots and computers do much of the fighting. And wealth only helps so much: For AI, much of the war-fighting asset is software, which of course is free to produce after development, not expensive hardware. As we know well, spending more on software development doesn't always yield a better outcome. What's the benefit from spending $100 billion on development rather than $1 billion or even $10 million? For a lot of software, not much. (Hardware scale does help machine learning, but is there an upper limit or diminishing returns?)
Small countries might have an enormous opportunity. Could Singapore or Israel take the lead in AI and become major military powers? Could Saudi Arabia or Iran afford to develop AI as good as the U.S., China, or Russia? What about private companies or individuals? I suspect it depends not on quantity of developers, but on quantity of 10x developers and on who first discovers the superior technology and, more importantly, its application. Remember that in WWII, German tanks were inferior to many of their enemies, but the Germans figured out how to use tanks more effectively and seized an enormous advantage before their enemies could catch up.
EDIT: A couple clarifications and added the potential of private organizations
You're describing network-centric warfare , which was formalized in US military theory in 1996 (22 years ago) and has guided US military doctrine since.
I'm going to put this delicately, but it'd be nice if we didn't assume everyone in the military was an idiot and hasn't thought of the things we have.
It's from an (at least somewhat) seminal paper about 10 years old from a leading defense think tank, and others discuss it too. The paper was about the future of warfare, particularly the influence of AI and robotics, and not past doctrine. It was highly respected in the defense community, AFAIK, so perhaps we shouldn't assume that HN posters are idiots who don't know what they are saying.
> it'd be nice if we didn't assume everyone in the military was an idiot and hasn't thought of the things we have.
It would be even nicer if we didn't attribute things to people that they didn't say.
As for the barb, I wouldn't have dropped it if you'd cited / summarized more concisely. Past some word count without citation or reference, I assume people assume that I believe my thoughts are novel (and by extension, that others haven't thought of them).
I again just want make it clear that I'm not the one who made the parent and GGP comments look idiotic.
I don't work for you, so to hell with your requirements and your reading comprehension problems.
> I assume people assume
I just had to repeat that part.
Until then, I'd say the Swiss, Israeli, and American models are the most moral realistic options we've come up with. (Each with their own terrible moral compromises and failures)
I'm as anti-war as they come but of course you have to recognize there are smart people who nevertheless decide to work with the military.
Likewise, arguing that AI/software can supplant wealth in warfare is laughable. An example could be 9/11. The total cost to Al-Qaeda was a rounding error compared to the trillions spent in Afghanistan (and later, Iraq). And I have read anecdotes of U.S. Marines in Iraq recalling how insurgents managed to waste millions (if not billions) by firing one rocket at a Marine base then fleeing, all while the entire base has to shut down operations to dig in and defend, even if the lone attacker is long gone by the time anybody’s in position. And yet neither Al-Qaeda or ISIS or even the United States itself has managed to fully and definitely declare peace and go home without a new insurgency rising up in their wake.
In short, a power with little relative wealth or population - even with sophisticated software and AI - could never be any more than an expensive nuisance to the larger powers.
I thought that military power depended primarily on the quantity of population and materiél. The latter is driven primarily by wealth, but also relies on building, operating and maintaining a manufacturing and industrial base.
Smarter software will help equalize and hopefully reduce coordination costs (i.e. command hierarchy & effective intelligence) but doesn't really help with population nor materiél factors.
To add, AI can help reduce staffing, failures, costs, etc. What it can't do is magically project force. This requires boots on the ground or a weapons system capable of reaching out and touching someone. This requires materiél, and for the initial build-up flesh-and-bone soldiers.
However, there is a possible exception in the form of cyber warfare. If AI can sufficiently disrupt digital infrastructure it could hypothetically bring another power to its knees. Still, if that power can bounce back from the initial setback that AI would again become a less direct asset.
This could have very real military effects. Suppose your supply lines/defense contractors are targeted by foreign digital attackers. Even if your Military itself uses secure communications and infrastructure, if their dependents are disrupted, it will directly impact their effectiveness.
Honest question: Can anyone think of such a place? I'm not including countries that had manufacturing capacity but didn't use it for military purposes.
> Smarter software will help equalize and hopefully reduce coordination costs (i.e. command hierarchy & effective intelligence) but doesn't really help with population nor materiél factors.
That omits another application of AI: Autonomous or semi-autonomous robots that do the fighting. That greatly reduces the need for population, because the AI robots are the 'boots on the ground'.
And while you need manufacturing capacity to build lots of robots, likely the software would be the difficult part. Manufacturing capacity is no longer particularly expensive or exclusive - it's so inexpensive that developing countries do most of it while wealthy countries moved on to higher-skill, higher- profit industries decades ago (such as writing software), and arguably the wealthy could rebuild capacity quickly if needed. Also, victory might depend far more on AI quality than on hardware quantity.
That's all speculative, of course. Who knows how it will work out. On one hand, we can't even build an AI that can drive safely on the freeway; on the other, AI might be simpler in a war zone, where safety and precision may take a back seat to destructive power - see it, shoot it - especially for the unscrupulous.
Germany in particular had about a 10-year head start in terms of weapons (strong tanks, jet fighters, assault rifles, drones, ballistic missiles) but simply could not build enough to make a difference.
Japan had a large population and plenty of soldiers to spare at the end of WWII but again couldn’t compete with Allied manufacturing. It was a fact they were aware of before the war.
But I think that's a different question. I was looking for,
> a country with wealth (and population) that lost a war due to a lack of manufacturing capacity
I should have been more clear, though I think the context still conveys it: I meant, has their been a wealthy country that lost a war simply because it didn't invest in manufacturing capacity? Germany and Japan invested heavily in it, but the Allies, combined, were simply much wealthier and larger. Also, the Allied capacity in the USA wasn't reduced by bombing.
My bet is on Israel, though.
The Saudi's answer to the problem you raise is in your first sentence: They can hire foreigners or buy the technology. In their nuclear competition with Iran, the Saudi's apparently intended to buy nuclear weapons from Pakistan.
FWIW, it's usually spelled "Koran", "Quran", or "Qur'an" in English.
By that time the world could be completely different and hence too late to make any changes.
'Secret' software is very hard to keep secret: once your enemy has a semi-intact drone/AI then they'll have upgraded their own fleet within months (if yours was indeed superior).
I agree that it seems possible that a country with less wealth might outperform a country or group with more wealth. However, it's likely that the wealthier nation is better able to steal the technology and catch-up than the reverse scenario. A wealthier group has more budget for monetary bribes, and can pursue more parallel reverse-engineering attempts than the less wealthy group.
All new systems have anti-tamper mechanisms designed in from the start specifically to minimize the chances of this happening (assuming they work as intended).
Are there waste and &#+$ups? Sure.
But do an extra couple 0's produce more secure hardware? Absolutely.
And for the record the ps4 has had kernel level exploits published.
While CNN and ltstm are very good at some tasks they're still far away from meta-learning
The US sells defense equipment to it's allies
In an AI war, any software you push at thr beginning of the war will be useless within days, because the enemy will push better software. The most efficient way to adapt will be to continually update your algorithms by stochastic gradient descent on GPUs. In the resulting minute-by-minute arms race, hardware will be crucial, as will having clever engineers who can continually streamline the process.
At what point will journalists stop writing this. We may very well have general AI at some point in the future, but I really doubt it's going to be in our lifetimes.
Replace "a missile launch" with "a peaceful protest" and the statement suddenly becomes dastardly.
The increasingly authoritarian Chinese government would absolutely adore a technology like that, I am sure of it.
Or you don't think the internet filters itself at the border of China.
Replace "deliver mail" with "look through the windows and write down what they see" and the statement suddenly becomes dastardly.
See what I did there? I took an random situation and made it instantly negative and big-brotherish just by invoking an imaginary narrative.
Conspiracy theories just don't help advancing arguments.
You've conflating the much simpler task of changing the label with a much broader change (ie, throwing away the entire practice in favor of a completely different and more difficult one).
Which do you honestly thing is more realistic and more consistent with what we know of the history of the state?
Much of the ‘AI’ research has been directly (or indirectly) funded by DoD, 3-letter agencies, NATO, and many other countries since the field’s infancy.
What the world really needs is to ensure mutually assured destruction is remains in effect. The world cannot afford to let the Russian or Chinese dictators believe they can pull off a first strike and take over the world.
The problem right now is that the US is still trying to uphold MAD by itself and it's failing. The US nuclear triad is way out of date and potentially vulnerable to a first strike. We need to decentralize the system among other wealthy and trustworthy countries.
All countries in the G7 should have enough nuclear weapons pointed at Russia and China to ensure MAD. And they should develop these weapons independently of the US for increased reliability and redundancy.
How are nuclear submarines vulnerable to a first strike?
And even if most of the active subs survived it might not be sufficient to ensure MAD because they don't carry all that many SLBMs.
If literally one submarine survives this amazing russian counterstrike by taking out every single other ohio class at once that still leaves a counterforce of at most
12*24 = 288 warheads. that is 144 to burn russian cities
and 144 to burn chinese cities. to me that seems like a credible strike.
and this is still assuming literally NO land based or air deliverable weapons are left.
... considering the spotty accuracy of russian missiles (seriously go look up their CEP ratios - do you even know what CEP stands for? ) I find that scenario very unlikely.
China is widely believed to have only 270 warheads...
2. Why do you think superfuzes helps in a counter strike? They massively increase accuracy but that's not even the problem to solve in a MAD scenario. Superfuzes help in taking out an enemy's nuclear force while it's on the ground, as in the case of a first strike. You don't need them to hit cities.
3. Counting warheads is misleading because it ignores the possibility of interception or failure of the missiles themselves. Countering some number of those 24 missiles is entirely conceivable.
4. Yes, I know what CEP means because I too have read pages on Wikipedia. Is this your weak attempt at claiming expertise where none likely exists?
5. Here's an open letter from the actual experts that ran the US Strategic Command. They agree with me that the US nuclear triad is in dire need of modernization.
Some of their recommendations have already been implemented and a lot more needs to be done before we can rely on MAD being in effect in the future.
6. Putting the hopes of humanity on a few subs that were designed in the 1970s is a very dangerous idea. It's an admission that the triad is broken. When you've let two thirds of your redundant system fail, you've got a very urgent problem.
From the open letter (linked above) by the experts: "The last concentrated investment to modernize the triad came during the Reagan administration."
Even if you believe the subs are in great condition, that doesn't fix the other two fundamentally broken legs of the triad. The B-52 fleet would likely get shot down because they're very slow and non-stealthy. The ICBMs probably don't even work (no public evidence they do), they're in well known static silos, and have just a few minutes of "use or lose" time.
> The ICBMs probably don't even work (no public evidence they do), they're in well known static silos, and have just a few minutes of "use or lose" time.
They fire off a few randomly selected minuteman IIIs every so often and the footage is typically public. maybe not perfect evidence but it is some evidence.
i kind of wondering which Navy in the world has (or going to have in the next 10 years - supposing that US would do nothing in those 10 years) sufficient number of such superior attack submarines (or how else you're going to attack these subs? ICBM or long range bombers are obviously out of question) Definitely it is beyond Russia and China capabilities (even if combined (not is going to happen))
The Ohio subs are supposed to be hard to track. If they are being successfully tracked then they're vulnerable to attack.
The point of the nuclear triad is to be triple redundant. The system is not designed to rely solely on the ability of the subs to survive an attack. That would be a single point of failure.
By 'conceivable', you mean 'I am able to think this thought, regardless of how tied to reality it is', right?
If primary means of protection for these subs is stealth, and that stealth is no longer in effect, then it's logical to assume that they're vulnerable.
The fact that the US Navy is trying to replace them with stealthier Columbia class submarines is good evidence that this is true.
Do you any useful information or ideas to add?