Will AI Change the Future of Soldiering?

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What Happens Next?

The Handmaid’s Tale. Brave New World. Mad Max. Fictional dystopias have never seemed so close to becoming reality. Is it too late to change our course 
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Ask an artificial intelligence to play you in a game of chess, and chances are, you’ll lose.

Ask an artificial intelligence to make you a cup of coffee, however, and prepare to be disappointed.

While robotics, autonomous systems and artificial intelligence, collectively known as RAS-AI, represent the bleeding edge of innovation and are often the villains in science fiction, the technology has a long way to go before it will replace humans in day-to-day tasks – and that includes on the battlefield.

In last week’s episode of ‘What Happens Next?’, expert guests warned of the dangers of removing humans from war and replacing them with robots – the consequences could quickly become catastrophic. The good news? That’s not likely to happen any time soon.

Although it will never replace human soldiers, RAS-AI does have some surprising effects on them – including on their mental health, and in shaping society’s views on valour and what it means to be a member of the military.

This week, host Dr Susan Carland is joined by expert guests who outline the state of RAS-AI today, its tremendous potential benefits to humanity, and how emerging technologies are changing the way we think about soldiers, and the way soldiers think about their jobs.

Today’s guests are Monash alumnus and veteran Dr Josh Roose; Dr Kate Devitt, Chief Scientist of Trusted Autonomous Systems, CRC; former SAS Commanding Officer Ben Pronk DSC; and Paul Scharre, a former US Army Ranger and the author of ‘Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War’.

Take the Resilience Survey here.

A full transcript of this episode is available on Monash Lens.

‘What Happens Next?’ will be back next week with an all-new topic. In the meantime, listen to our Season 5 episode to learn how psychedelics could help treat post-traumatic stress disorder.

If you’re enjoying the show, don’t forget to subscribe and rate or review ‘What Happens Next?’ to help listeners like yourself discover it.

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