US Military Innovation for the Digital Age
Wednesday, October 27, 2021 at 12:00pm to 1:30amVirtual Event
SSP Wednesday Seminar with speaker Audrey Cronin, School of International Service
A dramatic shift is underway from 20th century “closed” military innovation to “open” innovation driven by commercial processes. The diffusion of modern technology—robotics, cyber weapons, 3-D printing, synthetic biology, autonomous systems, and artificial intelligence—to individuals has given them access to weapons of mass violence previously monopolized by the state. But this is the resurgence of an historical trend. The last time innovation was truly democratized was during the late 19th century. From the invention of dynamite to the release of the AK-47, many of the most surprising developments in warfare have happened because of technological advances combined with changes in who can use them. Beyond US-China AI competition or US-Russia cyber contests, our changing social and historical contexts will be vital to the future of war. The presentation will discuss why certain lethal technologies spread, which ones to focus on, and how individuals and private groups will employ them for malevolent ends. The same digital technologies that empower individuals are imperilling global security—unless we adapt.