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Thinking about the future of war

Coker, Christopher (2023) Thinking about the future of war. In: Gruszczak, Artur and Kaempf, Sebastian, (eds.) Routledge Handbook of the Future of Warfare. Routledge, Abingdon, UK, 31 - 40. ISBN 9781032288901

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Identification Number: 10.4324/9781003299011-5


Futurists tend to make bold claims. We must be careful not to overemphasise the pace of technological change. This was the conclusion of the European Parliament’s recent report: ‘Innovative Technologies shaping the 2040 battlefield’. Instead, it suggested that we should apply ‘technology-agnostic solutions.’ How to be agnostic? This chapter utilises four methodological filters to understand the future of AI and war (1) lexical: language – what do we mean by terms such as ‘new’ and ‘revolutionary’. (2) Ontological – how will Ai transform the human dimension of war by changing the way we think, possibly by producing changes in the brain itself; (3) Imaginative – the future is imagined long before it is realised. What role does sci-fi have to play in second guessing the future? (4) Historical – will we continue to rely on history and historians to foreground evolutionary patterns such as the physical/cerebral upgrades soldiers have been given in the last 2,000 years of military history as well as new upgrades in the human-machine interface. This chapter concludes that AI will once again change the character of war, but it will be many years before it changes its nature.

Item Type: Book Section
Official URL:
Divisions: IGA: LSE IDEAS
Subjects: U Military Science > U Military Science (General)
Q Science > Q Science (General)
Date Deposited: 16 May 2024 15:48
Last Modified: 05 Jul 2024 04:00

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