Strategic Implications Of AI In National Security And Challenges For India

When it comes to the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in defense and national security, we mostly talk about how AI is going to impact the operational level of war. Our interest is mostly confined to how future ware will be waged and won through AI-enabled military capabilities. But AI has the potential to impact all aspects of national security.

What is Artificial Intelligence?

According to the National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence, a report prepared by the NITI Aayog in June 2018, AI is a constellation of technologies that enable machines to act with higher levels of intelligence and emulate the human capabilities of sense, comprehend and act.

Thus, computer vision and audio processing can actively perceive the world around them by acquiring and processing images, sound and speech. The natural language processing and inference engines can enable AI systems to analyze and understand the information collected.

How AI can Assist Defense Sector

Artificial Intelligence can assist the defence sector in many areas. Tools based on AI can be used by the defence in the analysis of sensor data, situational awareness, predictive maintenance etc.

Initiatives Taken by the Government of India

In February 2018, a Task Force-led by N Chandrasekharan, Chairman, Tata Sons, submitted its final report to the government of India.

The report assed the entire gamut of issues surrounding strategic implications of AI in national security.

Acting on the advises given by the task force, the Ministry of Defense has provided an institutional framework for policy implementation. Apart from this, it has also put in place guidelines to be followed by the defense organization. It has also laid out a vision for capacity-building.

A high-level Defense AI Council (DAIC) was also established in February 2019. This council is headed by the Minister of Defense. Any future partnership between the industry and the government will be guided by the DAIC. Acquisition of technology and launch of startups in defense AI sector will be monitored by the DAIC.

Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIR) is a DRDO-based laboratory. Currently, it is developing Artificial Intelligence-based solutions which will improve intelligence gathering and analysis capabilities of the armed forces.

Challenges

  • Having a sound understanding of what AI can achieve and what it can’t in the strategic context.
  • What kind of AIs India should develop? Should machine be given complete freedom on the battlefields?
  • India also lacks resources and critical infrastructure to fully integrate AI in both civilian and military uses. India needs to have a outstanding hardware and enabling data banks to fully realize the potential of AI.
  • High skills and capital that AI demands can’t be achieved without the active participation of the private sector. Its role should be well-defined. And there should be policy incentives for private sectors to enter this field.
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