Every day it is more common to hear the term Artificial Intelligence in different aspects of human life and it is normal to imagine that it is a new concept, which is a mistake. This concept has been developing for many years and looking for a place in the solution of different social, economic, military, medical, commercial, etc. needs.
In this paper we will show a little about the origin and the main concepts surrounding AI and that sometimes are not clear generating misinformation or a misunderstanding of the subject. Subsequently, we will name some countries in different continents that to date have made advances in AI with applications in the defense sector and how they have managed to do so.
After examining this international context, we will discuss how AI technologies have a place in the National Army, to finally explain how the different elements of combat power can be strengthened and enhanced with disruptive technologies that will undoubtedly change the way our nation is defended and attacked.
Artificial Intelligence, Elements of Combat Power, Autonomous Learning, Deep Learning.
Acknowledgments: The author wishes to thank the National Army, the Escuela Superior de Guerra “General Rafael Reyes Prieto”, my family and teachers for their support in the realization of the article.
Disclosure statement: The author declares that there is no conflict of interest related to the article.
Funding: No funding was received for the research.
The term Artificial Intelligence has become a boom in society in recent years. There are many things that can come to a person’s mind when they hear these two words.
The first one is “intelligence” which is related to humans and the evolution of the human race. On the other hand, there is the term “artificial”, which we immediately relate to something that was not created by nature but by man, and with this the first thing we think of when we hear artificial intelligence is Hollywood creations.
The means to produce information, how it is collected and the large amount of data that is stored have been the breeding ground to allow the entry and the boom that AI has had. For example, a network like Facebook, which in 2017 reached 2 billion users which on average per day connect 58 minutes, generates about 4 pentabytes of data per day (Osman, 2019), this are figures that only 20 years ago were unthinkable and intractable by the computer systems of the time, in addition, many did not see the importance that these data could have to influence the lives of people.
Artificial Intelligence is nowadays present in many of the things we see and use, and in most of them we do not even know that they are impregnated with this concept, since we usually relate the term to highly developed things; however, the reality is different, many of the things we employ work with AI such as Apple’s SIRI, Google Now, email servers, Amazon, customer service chat of many companies, google Translate, Facebook, the cameras of some smartphones, navigation systems such as Waze or Maps, etc.
A major concern is the number of people out of work that the industrial revolution 4.0. One of them is the study conducted by the World Economic Forum where Colombia does not appear but countries in the area such as Mexico and Brazil, where they show that the main strategies to avoid this phenomenon of unemployment will be to invest in training current employees and hiring female talent; likewise, it raises as barriers the lack of understanding of disruptive changes and the pressure of investors for profits in the short time (World Economic Forum, 2016).
The rise of AI will generate what is known as creative destruction2 , which produces the disappearance of some jobs and gives way to new ones thanks to the innovation that occurs in a production or business model. This type of change usually puts the most vulnerable populations, who base their work and income on jobs that require little added value, in the worst situation.
Digitalization has brought benefits for many entrepreneurs; in countries such as Finland, in 2013 there were 152,000 self-employed people aged 15-64 years old. In 2000 this figure was only 120,000, the numbers skyrocketed after the 2008 crisis. The above, also lets us to glimpse that technology does nothing by itself, it needs people at all times, for its design, learning, taking and giving information. The tools are created by and for man or whoever he decides should be their beneficiary.
Artificial intelligence can be compared to telecommunications, electricity and some other technologies that have been developed and eventually permeated the life of living beings.
Just as electricity transformed the way industries functioned in the last century, artificial intelligence, the science of programming cognitive abilities into machines, has the power to substantially change society in the next 100 years (Wharton School, 2017).
The discourse on the importance of AI has been on the agenda of the greatest world leaders such as Obama, Trump, Xi and Puting for some years now. In an address concerning the future of the world order Putin in 2017 said “whoever leads AI will rule the world” when he opened the Russian school year in front of thousands of students.
Currently just over 20 countries have announced their national strategies concerning Artificial Intelligence.
Comparing AI, from the military side, with the most important deterrent capability of a few nations which is nuclear power, we can see that the latter is only accessible to a few considered powers and others that are not but face major prohibitions and blockades for their developments in this field. AI, on the other hand, is accessible to all states and even to non-state entities and, to say the least, to anyone with sufficient knowledge, hardware equipment and software.
doctrine. Additionally, it is in an effort to ratify and reinforce its ethical values at all levels in order to maintain the high degrees of legitimacy it has had for many years in the eyes of the civilian population. This environment makes it propitious to be able to look to the future and seek international references in order to enter early into the wave of artificial intelligence.
Colombia is a world reference in counterinsurgency, counterterrorism, fight against transnational crime and drug trafficking, as expressed in the Security and Defense Policy of President Iván Duque, and if it wants to maintain that status it must adopt technological capabilities that help it to maintain it.
For this it is important to start strengthening the investment made in research and development in the country, below is a graph of how much some countries invest in this:
For many it is a surprise to see Israel at the top of the list, however, given its historical conditions of regional conflict and the permanent threat that falls on it are powerful explanations for them to invest a significant portion of GDP in R&D. China, despite being at the bottom of the list, with that percentage of GDP is above most of the other countries in terms of real money, since it is the country with the highest GDP in the world, while Colombia invests less than 0.5% of its GDP in this area.
In the research, primary and secondary sources were consulted in order to obtain the data and information that would shape the research. A qualitative approach was used, with an exploratory scope. It was developed in a descriptive way since an explanation was given to a social phenomenon that becomes relevant with the passage of time and at the same time a proposal was generated at the end on the application and use of the topic in question. Finally, the deductive method allowed the work to go from the general to the particular.
The concept began to be coined thanks to the English mathematician Alan Turing, creator of the Turing machine and father of computation. He was able to demonstrate that with the basic operations performed by his machine any algorithm could be encoded. In his 1950 article Computing Machinery and Intelligence he established that if a machine could act like a human then it is intelligent, and this ability of the machine was validated with the Turing Test.
Before Turing, Warren McCulloch and Walter Pitts in 1943 proposed an artificial neural network, capable of learning and solving logical functions. But it was not until 1958 when the term Artificial Intelligence was coined thanks to John McCarthy, starting the development of this discipline as a science.
The rational model establishes that the machine is intelligent if it behaves rationally, basing its logic on the concept of Agents3. This means that an agent is intelligent based on the reasoning it makes according to the information it possesses. The Agent makes a suitable decision based on data and the time it has to analyze it. Currently, work is being done on multi-agent systems, which are different agents, with different capabilities, working together to solve a problem (Garcia, 2016, p. 5).
The father of intelligence John McCarthy defined that “Artificial Intelligence is the science and engineering of making intelligent machines, especially intelligent computer programs” AI is the science of imitating human intelligence using computers. It is making a machine capable of learning, making decisions and solving problems. AI allows a machine to learn from the information it receives, adapt to changes, identify questions and/or problems, and finally make corrections and return to the first point, closing these steps and turning them into a continuous cycle.
Artificial Intelligence Actions
Artificial intelligence is helping to solve “problems”, understanding that a “problem” is something that is difficult to solve, requires effort and has no trivial solution.
For a machine to solve a problem it is necessary to create a model that allows it to analyze the information and this in turn must have a clear objective to achieve. Likewise, this model must have an evaluation function that serves as a criterion to evaluate as “good” the possible solutions and to be able to choose among them the most convenient, not necessarily the best. Nowadays, and thanks to the large amount of information that a system can collect, there are commonly problems called intractable, which for any current computer are almost impossible to analyze in a reasonable time.
The Encyclopedia Britannica stated that “artificial intelligence (AI) is the ability of a digital computer or computer-controlled robot to perform tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings”. Intelligent beings are those that can adapt to changing circumstances (Geetha & Reddy, 2018). This definition would fall short of what AI really is, since a computer is capable of solving multiplications, memorizing texts and recalling them when required, remembering events, and not because of this we can say that it is endowed with AI capabilities.
Another definition is that of Elaine Rich who says “Artificial intelligence is the study of how to make computers do things that, at the moment, people are better at” (Rich, 1983). It is a simple definition which was put forward by the author in 1983 and as can be seen it has been what those working on the evolution of AI have been working on forever and will continue to do for many years to come, making this definition timeless.
Artificial intelligence systems use agents that are in continuous evolution and learning, which in order to achieve “intelligent” behaviors must interact with each other and share information, hence the importance given to the connectivity that exists and the speed of response, which led to convert the internet and the concept of internet of things in the spinal cord of all this. Likewise, processors have become strategically important for the countries that design and develop them, and the bidding and competition for 5G networks has become a geopolitical struggle between the most powerful nations.
Artificial intelligence is classified into four main approaches:
- System mechanism that acts as the
“The art of creating machines that perform functions that require intelligence when performed by people” (Kurzweil, 1990).
- System mechanism that thinks like people.
Machines with AI capabilities are in the capacity to “think” as a human would by performing the actions in Figure 1.
- Mechanism of the thinking system
Artificial intelligence is “the study of the computations that make it possible to perceive, reason, and act” (Winston, 1992).
- Mechanism of the acting system
Artificial intelligence is the branch of computer science concerned with the automation of intelligent behavior” (Luger & Stubblefield, n.d.).
Likewise, three types of human-machine relationships are distinguished which are:
- Human in the loop (semi-autonomous systems).
- Human on the loop (supervised autonomous systems)
- Human out of the loop (autonomous systems).
Currently the most common developments operate under the first two types of relationships (Shkurti Ozdemir, 2019, p. 9).
Trends in the Use of Artificial Intelligence in the International Military Domain.
Industry 4.0 components include autonomous robots, systems integration, internet of things (IoT), simulation, additive manufacturing, cloud computing, augmented reality, big data, and cybersecurity. Artificial Intelligence is closely related to Industry 4.0 (Wan Ibrahim & Hassan, 2019).
The adoption of automation, robotics and AI is accelerating exponentially, according to the 2018 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report, through surveys established that 41% of those asked consider this topic important, 47% say their companies are running processes with these technologies, 24% use robots and AI for routine tasks, 16% to augment human skills and 7% to restructure jobs completely (Deloitte, 2018).
United States of America.
In 2014 the Secretary of Defense under the title of “The Defense Innovation Initiative” was launched for the third time what this country knows as “Offset strategy” or offset strategy, with which this the North Americans seek to promote new technologies from the military field that guarantee them to maintain supremacy in this field for the next 20 years against Russia and China.
This third strategy also bets on advanced technology and AI systems that include robotics and automatic systems, miniaturization, big data and advanced manufacturing and 3D printing (Dombrowski, 2015). This gave rise to the entire military organization adapting to these new guidelines and creating the necessary organizations in order to meet this requirement, accompanied by a strong political bet. The Pentagon created the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center JAIC in 2018.
Likewise, In January 2019, the Joint AI Center was founded. In February, the Executive Order to maintain U.S. leadership in artificial intelligence was issued, and the Department of Defense published the unclassified summary of the artificial intelligence strategy.
For its part, the White House established the Select Committee on AI which was established by action of the National Science and Technology Council (National Science and Technology Council, 2018).
Army Futures Command was created. Charged with “leading a continuous transformation and modernization of the Army to provide future warfighters with the concepts, capabilities, and organizational structures they need to dominate a future battlefield” (Army Futures Command, n.d.).
The U.S. is the world’s leading power in terms of Armed Forces and the country with the largest defense budget, followed by Russia, China and India (Forbes Staff, 2019). Hence, it is not illogical that they are also the pioneers in the use of AI within their military capacity, although this country has maintained the slogan that “humans will always have the final decision on the firing to avoid any lethal action by machines through a veto” (BBC News, 2019).
They have developed projects such as ATLAS (Advanced Targeting and Lethality Automated System) with which armored vehicles could, with the use of AI, identify and engage targets three times faster than the current human process.
Another application is simulation and war games. With this it has been possible to start detecting hidden targets thanks to reconnaissance photos obtained through the open skies treaty signed in 2002 by 34 mostly European states. In June 2020, the DEFENDER – Europe 20 war games will be held. Another application that plans to be used in these war games is the MAVEN Project, in which Google, Clarifai, Amazon and Microsoft collaborated, which seeks to use AI to interpret images and videos in order to refine the orientation of drone attacks (Yúbal, 2018).
Another initiative being developed by DARPA is Squadron X. This project seeks to equip soldiers and Marines in dismounted units with tools; to design, develop and validate prototype autonomous systems, equipped with new detection tools and standard technologies (Root, n.d).
These systems allow the warfighter to have better situational management and control over the development of multi-domain operations4 by the military.
Artificial intelligence depends on the data it analyzes and the speed and ease of access to it. For this reason, the DoD has also developed the JEDI (Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure) project. This consists of a cloud computing or cloud computing program, which allows to be hyper-connected and disconnected, either by will or by force, to any combat unit that is in the multi-domain theater of operations or to an intelligence analyst behind his desk in Washington (Freedberg, 2019).
Work is underway at the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) and the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) on prototypes to enable preventive maintenance solutions (Department of Defense, 2018).
On the other hand are drone swarms, in 2016 the U.S. Army conducted tests where it launched a swarm of 103 unmanned aircraft or mili-drones from F/A-18 Super Hornets. The drones launched are Perdix drones that have the capability to even evade air defense systems and perform surveillance and reconnaissance functions. Each of these drones communicates with each other and adapts to the removal of some and the addition of new Perdix (Baraniuk, 2017).
The Navy and DARPA with a prototype called the Sea Hunter. Which is an unmanned anti-submarine vessel which in its deployment stage would be in the capability to navigate in the open ocean, perform weapons delivery to targets, coordinate missions with other naval, land and air units both manned and unmanned and maintain underwater coverage for extended time. It is estimated that the operation of this daily could be over USD 20,000 while a destroyer with similar capabilities could cost nearly USD 700,000 (Turner, 2018).
The European Union countries have the European Defense Agency (EDA) which is an intergovernmental body of the EU Council. This groups 26 of the 27 members of the EU the only one not included is Denmark. Its mission is basically to support the member states and the Council in their efforts to improve European defense capabilities (European Defence Agency, n.d.). In order to carry out the studies this agency was divided into CapTechs (Capability Technology Group) dedicated to specific defense oriented study areas.
One of the projects developed by the agency is the “Hybrid Manned Unmanned Platooning (Hy-MUP)”. This demonstrated the feasibility of coordinating and operating unmanned ground systems together with regular manned vehicles, furthermore it allowed the familiarization of the military with unmanned ground platforms (European Defence Agency, 2017).
Another project is the Unmanned Maritime Systems (UMS) program or UMS – European Unmanned Maritime Systems for Mine-Counter-Measures and other Naval Applications. The object of this program is to enhance European capabilities in naval applications mainly related to mine counter measures (MCM) (R&T Initiatives, 2014).
The MUROC (Multi Robot Control in Support of the Combatant) project was led by France, Germany and Spain. Robotic technologies have been identified as one of the critical gaps to be addressed for the development of future European land systems (R&T Initiatives, 2013). This project demonstrated how military forces can benefit from robot systems working cooperatively in different scenarios (DIEHL Defence, 2015).
The ASIMUT project (Aid to SItuation Management based on MUltimodal, MUltiUAVs, MUltilevel acquisition Techniques) aims to decrease the operator workflow during a surveillance mission led by swarms of UAVs (Bouvry, et al., 2017).
EuroSWARM is a project that seeks the effective and efficient operation of unmanned swarms. It seeks for swarm UAVs to decide for themselves the optimal task allocation and resource management, self-guide, and create a network with equipped sensors so that these can operate independently with a unified brain (Cranfield University, 2016).
Additionally, the Overarching Strategic Research Agenda and CapTech SRAs Harmonisation (OSRA) was created. The creation of this agenda seeks that governmental and non-governmental actors from EDA CapTechs member countries have a shared and joint vision on the technological challenges to be addressed (European Defence Agency, 2019).
Approximately since 2016, Artificial Intelligence started on the rise in the Central American country. In early 2020, the first Artificial Intelligence HUB in Mexico was inaugurated at the Guadalajara Campus of the Tecnológico de Monterrey.
In 2018, the Mexican government presented its Artificial Intelligence Strategy of Mexico (IA-MX 2018). This is an important step for the country to start with solid steps that will lead it to consolidate itself as a regional power in AI.
Likewise, the IA2030MX platform was created, which defines itself as “a multi-sector coalition made up of professionals, academic institutions, companies, startups, public agencies and other key players in the digital and Artificial Intelligence (AI) ecosystem in Mexico” (IA2030MX). In which they seek to integrate efforts for the use and application of AI for the benefit of Mexicans, strengthen cooperation between sectors and provide accessibility of AI to people.
In this country there is also the Mexican Society of Artificial Intelligence, which promotes the application of AI in Mexican society. Additionally, the Mexican International Congress of Artificial Intelligence (MICAI) is organized annually.
The Intercultural Center for the Study of Deserts and Oceans (CEDO) with the use of machine learning determined how climate change behaves in the Gulf of California, in order to predict and take government actions to take the necessary measures to avoid catastrophes in this region.
As can be seen in the development of this research, there has been no information on military applications that are being given to AI in Mexico. Perhaps one of the reasons is the ethical burden that has been placed on this issue by the international community not only to governments but also to private companies seeking to create developments or generate research in this regard, thus generating that although they are open technologies to any actor or state regardless of their category or size, are only a few powers and large companies that in the end end up doing it.
In 2018, the Future of Life Institute (FLI), published an act where more than 160 companies and 2400 people related to artificial intelligence committed not to create LAWS (Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems), as they are doing in countries such as France, Israel, Russia, South Korea, the United States and the United Kingdom. Likewise, the FLI expressed that 26 countries including Mexico and Colombia; have expressed their support for the prohibition of the manufacture and use of Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems (Restrepo, 2018).
This Asian country is one of the great pioneers of Artificial Intelligence and especially in the military field. This was one of the countries that in 2015 motivated the continuation of LAWS research and showed the importance for defense of the use of autonomous systems.
In December 2018, the South Korean military launched the Artificial Intelligence (AI) research institute, for its part the armed service opened the AI Research and Development Center, all with the aim of consolidating technologies applicable to future combat operations. The members of these institutes are experts in big data, AI, Machine learning, Deep learning, among others (Yonhap News Agency, 2018).
One of the projects developed by the Koreans is the Super Aegis 2. This turret can distinguish and shoot at a target 3 kilometers away, equipped with complex software for thermal vision and cameras, it can be configured as a semi-autonomous or autonomous system (Parkin, 2015). Similar to this system is the Samsung SGR-A1, a high-tech system with surveillance, tracking, firing and voice recognition capabilities. This allows Korean soldiers to be available for other operations where their presence and human intelligence is critical.
Another project developed are robots that mimic the movement and capabilities of some animals. The Defence Acquisition Programme Administration (DAPA), which oversees the acquisition and development of military weaponry, has stated the plan for the construction of these biometric devices. These robots are known as biobots, which in addition to supporting military requirements, having characteristics of birds, fish and snakes will be able to participate in search and rescue work (Ryall, 2019).
The aim is to develop autonomous robots by 2024, which with the help of sensors and artificial intelligence can scan underground for human remains, with an estimated 135,000 still to be recovered. The robots could be equipped with family DNA information to enable rapid identification (Si-young, 2020).
The work and communion between state and private companies have enabled this country to become stronger in AI. In 2020 the companies KT, LG Electronics and LG Uplus announced that they will make an open innovation platform called “AI One Team” to take their AI technologies to what they called a higher level supported by the 5G network. These new AI applications are not only focused on the conventional military domain but also on other problems affecting the nation’s security and defense such as pandemics like COVID-19 (Su-hyun, 2020).
The South Korean military also announced in 2017 its intention to establish a specialized unit, called Dronebot Jeontudan, to operate unmanned aerial vehicles and unmanned ground vehicles.
To prevent and counter cyber attacks, South Korea is employing AI-based means for early detection and response to cyber threats. Finally, it has worked on predicting cyber threats based on known information (sipri, 2019).
Artificial Intelligence Technologies Applicable to the Colombian National Army.
In the vision of the National Army is to be a modern army. Likewise, within its strategic roles it mentions that “the Army cannot depend only on its reputation, but must make understand what it is capable of doing now and in the future… to deter is necessary rigorous and realistic training, expert leaders, modern equipment…” (CEDOE, 2016).
As already seen in the international experience the development of applied technologies with AI support is almost in most cases possible thanks to alliances and research produced by civil-military agreements. Hence the importance that the topic begins to develop in parallel in a virtuous triangle that includes government, private enterprise and the security and defense sector.
Virtuous triangle for AI development
Colombia is starting to work on AI projects to solve many problems and optimize processes that used to be more complex. Many, if not all of these applications have a place in the military field since the military works like many other companies in different aspects.
This effort must come from the highest political and government levels so that it can permeate the whole society, which is why Colombia in 2019 in Paris, France, signed the “Recommendation of the Council of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on Artificial Intelligence (AI)”. In this context, President Iván Duque stated that one of his goals is the publication of a public policy that provides guidelines with a view to being regional pioneers in these technologies (Presidency, 2019).
Today and in the future, wars will be less and less likely to be fought on battlefields and between men. In the era of the fourth industrial revolution, threats take advantage of and employ asymmetric, less sophisticated tactics, with high economic, social, military and media impact, using the state’s own resources and those of the population that will be their target. They take advantage of a population and media susceptible to be deceived and manipulated in their beliefs, feelings, opinions and principles.
A current combatant generates information and the AI helps him to know what is the situation of his environment and even how is his health and physical condition better than he can know it himself. This stream of data quickly analyzed by an algorithm reduces the uncertainty curve that a commander has to make decisions.
At the same time that this data helps to speed up one’s own decisions, it can and should also serve to delay the adversary’s, hence the importance of AI in the disinformation operations that it can support, as well as to identify one’s own vulnerabilities to counter them. In the concept of conflict and hybrid threat5 , a conflict can be fought perfectly through social networks, information and disinformation, statements, tweets, fake news, information concealment, etc., and thus attack critical sectors of the adversary.
People: In this particular case it is the combatants who are in the areas of operations and are the primary source of data needed by the system to collect useful information. These sensors can capture both physiological and environmental information.
Useful data can be extracted from the human body such as: blood pressure, electrocardiogram, body temperature, sweating, blood oxygen level, pupil dilation, encephalogram, voice pickups, stress, breathing status, calories burned, hours of rest.
Likewise, the military can wear sensors that help capture their environment and activity such as: barometer, altimeter, accelerometer, video camera, microphone, smart glasses, fingerprint reader, gyroscope, GPS, iris reader, pedometer, WiFi connection.
A hybrid threat is the diverse and dynamic combination of regular forces, irregular forces, terrorist forces, and/or unified criminal elements to achieve mutually beneficial effects (CEDOE, 2017)
Vehicles and Machines: the use of UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) as it is commonly known or ART (Remotely Manned Aircraft) as it has been preferred to call in Colombia constitute the spear points in terms of vehicles equipped with AI tools this given the increasingly important autonomous operation capabilities that these aircraft have.
Over the years, this capability has been strengthened by all the forces, as is the case of the FAC, which has Israeli and American aircraft. The Army has RQ-11B-Raven aircraft (Padilla, 2016), and finally the Navy has SCAN EAGLE. This industry has been boosted by CIAC who has started to develop ART for the defense sector; they have developed the mini UAV-Coelum, ART- Quimbaya and the Atlante Plus the latter in agreement with Airbus (Dinero, 2019).
These systems can be equipped with cameras, microphones, thermal sensors, facial recognition systems, intelligent armament, interception and/or signal blocking equipment, with a flight autonomy, for Colombians, from 1 to 30 hours.
They are systems capable of capturing terrain data, topography, weather conditions, target confirmation, location and conditions of critical infrastructures of the troops themselves or the enemy.
Similar to the previous ones but in a different environment such as river and maritime are the USV (Unmanned Surface Vehicle) or unmanned surface vehicles. It should be noted that some Army units have river boats and carry out tasks in the country’s rivers, which in many territories are the main means of mobility, and since the Army does not have the capacity of military divers, these vehicles could be used for the inspection of vessels in submerged areas, In many occasions and places the troops must watch from the banks of the river the vessels that pass by and that they are certain are committing illicit acts but do not have the resources to neutralize them.
COTECMAR in its report of Science, Technology and Innovation Activities Report of 2019 within the project management presented the beginning of the development of a USV type vehicle, of which it said it was framed within the strategic direction of the entity through the development of research projects in alternative energies, artificial intelligence and unmanned vehicles (COTECMAR, 2020).
On the other hand, there are the Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGV). Currently in the Army, remote-controlled robotic platforms are used mainly to respond to threats with explosive devices. The machine employed has been the robot the TALON robot, equipped with a payload that includes three infrared illumination cameras, a color zoom camera, as well as several optional cameras and a Q-Tray (fuerzasmilitares.org, 2017).
These types of initiatives have already begun to be developed with Colombian labor and development as in the case of some students from the Universidad Industrial de Santander with other young entrepreneurs who in 2016 developed the prototype of a hybrid platform (air-ground) equipped with sensors capable of “sniffing” explosives and locating them on the ground, a device that was tested in conjunction with the 17th Brigade (Díaz, 2016). On the other hand, there is the development carried out by INDUMIL and the Universidad Militar Nueva Granada of the VALI robot (Light Anti-Explosive Vehicles) (FAC, n.d.).
Fixed Points: The Army has hundreds of fixed points where troops are located throughout the national territory, a capacity that no other company or organization has in the country. Many of these locations have the capacity to install different types of sensors that allow the capture of meteorological and/or geological information so that commanders and civilian authorities in ADAC operations can make decisions thanks to the predictions that can be made. The knowledge of environmental conditions allows knowing the necessary equipment for the soldiers, optimizing mobility and maneuver conditions with the possible use of aircraft, the feasibility of descents due to the weather, visibility, among other multiple factors that can affect the actions in the objective of an operation that takes months of planning.
As it could be evidenced previously, there are many ways to collect data, so the large amount of information becomes intractable for a human being and the use of machines and big data is necessary.
Within the DAMASCO doctrine, information appears as an important element in different areas and aspects. In the MFE 3-0 Operations manual, the operational variables appear which are: political, economic, military, social, information, time, infrastructure and physical environment (PEMSITIM). These along with the mission variables describe a commander’s theater of operations. These operational environments are never the same and do not remain static, they vary with the passage of time and new situations, hence the importance of keeping the information that feeds each of these variables updated.
In this whole process it is important to differentiate three terms that are usually treated without any discrimination: data, information and knowledge. Data are objective factors of a real fact, they have no relevance in themselves as they do not explain the reason for something, and sometimes they are not related to each other. Information can be understood as a message between a source and a receiver that has the capacity for the latter to change his or her perception of something. Then knowledge, for Davenport and Prusak (1999) knowledge is a mixture of experience, values, information and “know-how” that serves as a framework for the incorporation of new experiences and information, and is useful for action. And finally intelligence, which is given thanks to the knowledge, filtering and analysis of information and knowledge; this allows making predictions of something future with a higher level of certainty (INNOVA-T, n.d.).
The analysis of the data and their visualization is what the commander needs in the end to make the decision and proceeds to do what is more difficult for the machine to do, which are the tasks of reasoning, perception and interpretation of the information. This is why the commander must always be at the center of the whole model so that he can know the state of the troops, the available means and resources, the enemy situation, the state of development of the situation, critical requirements, decision making points, etc., known as D2D (data to decision).
Information and Disinformation
Many other state entities have become targets of attacks through social networks with the sole objective of creating a climate of disinformation and destabilization, delegitimizing state institutions, the government, leaders and others, thus endangering the constitutional regime legally established and respected by the majority of Colombians.
This type of threat is considered as hybrid since it combines in a coherent and coordinated manner irregular forces, criminal acts and fifth generation warfare elements6 against different vulnerabilities of the Force which have increased and are more exposed due to technological developments and their massification; however, this can be countered with the proper use of AI tools.
These hybrid threats, with the chaos and disinformation they generate, seek to make decision makers so saturated with adverse situations that they do not have time to deal with fundamental problems or comply with established plans and goals that affect those armed or criminal groups that generate chaos. These elements are intended to affect people’s cognitive environment, influencing their judgment and the decisions they make.
At this point, another AI capability is applied, which is to create information and content to support the campaign that is taking place. A clear example of this and the impact it could generate is the video of former U.S. President Barack Obama, created by researchers at the University of Washington, in which he speaks in his voice about many of his presidential achievements. All this thanks to the creation of an artificial neural network (BBC, 2017).
Applications of Artificial Intelligence in Combat Power Elements in the National Army.
The National Army develops different types of operations, offensive, defensive, stability and ADAC, in which it must apply its combat power in different ways. As defined by the MFRE 3-0 “Combat power is the total means of destructive, constructive and information capabilities that a unit or military formation can apply at a given time”, this combat power is made up of some elements among which we highlight the six functions of war conduction: mission type command, movement and maneuver, intelligence, fires, support and protection; and we add leadership and information.
In this chapter, it will be mentioned how the first six elements of combat power can be covered and supported by Artificial Intelligence, the last two elements will not be taken into account since they are considered transversal to the FCG.
Mission Type Command
The mission type command (MTM) allows the application of commanders’ leadership.
In turn, this is fed with information to allow commanders at all levels to understand, visualize, describe and direct operations (CEDOE, 2017).
It should be noted that technology is not above being human, this obviously includes commanders. On the contrary, they are tools that help him complement and reinforce his good judgment, situational awareness, values, and leadership in order to lead his troops to success.
The use of AI allows commanders from the strategic to the tactical level to have a bigger picture.
Commanders, with the support of their staff, use PRODOP to conduct the conceptual and detailed planning necessary to understand, visualize and describe their operational environment, make and articulate decisions, and direct, lead and evaluate military operations.
Now analyzing each of the activities of the PRODOP with the support of AI, the following can be said:
- Plan: here we seek to understand the situation, visualize a desired end state and chart the route to.
- Prepare: here the units and personnel improve their own capabilities before starting the execution. It is at this point where AI enters to perform some actions with applications mentioned above such as UAV, UGV, USV, cybernetic intelligence, simulation software, logistic activities, location of tools and units in critical points, information tasks for own units and disinformation tasks for the
- Execute: That the commander can employ his combat power and exploit it effectively is one of the fundamental purposes of AI by provisioning him with the information and projections he needs to make decisions with awareness of the present situation and future scenario.
- Evaluate: This activity is strengthened by AI thanks to tools that enable situational awareness, gathering and permanent feedback not only on what is happening on a battlefield when facing an armed threat but also in the
It is in the power of the command, based on its analysis and information provided by its E.M., and depending on what is to be achieved to determine what degree of autonomy is employed at each level of planning. In the article “A model for types and levels of human interaction with automation” (Parasuraman et al., 2000), levels of automation are proposed that should be applied according to the needs and the level of planning and execution in which the AI will take part.
These levels serve to determine when a commander can automate at level 10 something; for example, alarms and orders for logistical resupply which must be fulfilled regardless of the situation; or level 2 where an attack on a target is required and the AI system simply offers alternatives for the man to make the decision and give the order for action.
Movement and Maneuver
The AI affects not only in this element of combat power, but in all the combatant who is directly who takes the position, obeys orders, faces and confronts the enemy to take advantageous positions on the ground to achieve the objective.
One of the elements with which the combatant is strengthened and supported by the AI is in terms of medical care and the protection of his health in the combat field. Robotic surgical systems could be incorporated to perform care directly or remotely support care in the field.
Sensors equipped on the combatants, equipment and infrastructure allow to collect and compress everything in a single image for the commander and his E.M. to facilitate decision making. The development of projects at the national level that seek to emulate the capabilities of the MAVEN project would provide an immense capacity to combat the internal threats that currently substantially affect Colombia.
Another employment that would support movement and maneuver capabilities, and which relates to the sustainment combat element, is the ability to predict breakdowns and failures in air and ground troop transport elements.
Devices that power AI systems or contain AI that soldiers can carry into the combat area are becoming more accessible, convenient and tailored. In the military, there has been talk of the Soldier of the Future project, which is equipped with smart glasses that help him identify and align targets, or send that information to fire units that are right for certain targets. The use of portable systems for jamming enemy communications, GPS that provide real-time location information, smart watches that measure vital signs, smart clothes with ballistic and/or thermal protection, boots with AEI protection, etc. For this it is important the connectivity that the combatant has in the area of operations, so that the information reaches him and sends it on time, which requires a commitment not only from the Ministry of Defense, but also from the Ministry of ICT.
This FCG supported by AI tools is one of the most strengthened, since in the tasks it performs, it stops having a few sources that were only analyzed by a few analysts to have countless sources analyzed in a few minutes by machines; additionally, with advantages such as the reduction of the risks involved for an intelligence agent in the collection of the same, and the subjectivity and bias that people may have according to their beliefs, customs and culture.
The army has been characterized by adapting to the threat it has been facing over time, an example of this was the creation of mobile brigades, or the conformation of energy and road battalions, up to the new E.M. structure of the Army Command with the three Chiefs of E.M. The new strategies used by the Force will have the need to face hybrid threats with the use of techniques and tactics that until recently did not seem to fit in the traditional military doctrine and methods.
AI, with the use of its tools, allows the constantly changing information, and even more so when we are talking about hybrid threats, to be updated and the E.M. to provide timely recommendations and accurate assessments for the commander to decide on the direction of the battle.
By using DL in military operations, it would be possible to differentiate a military objective from a non-military one, to distinguish a combatant from a civilian, to differentiate a recently traveled road or trail from a disused one, thanks to the interpretation, digitalization and analysis of images taken by army intelligence aircraft, by drones that are carrying out surveillance activities or helicopters transporting cargo and/or personnel in an area that are equipped with tools that allow the proper capture of images.
In a battlefield of the future, knowing not only the military weapons, planes, rifles and bombs that the adversary has will not be enough; it will become preponderant and definitive to know the networks, systems, connections, hubs, sensors and all those technological components that make the adversary combat power can be applied, to start a process of neutralization, interruption of systems and services, and generate wear and uncertainty about the reliability of the same before starting any war confrontation that will always be the last resource to want to be used.
The use of AI improves tasks such as fire delivery and integration, target selection and prioritization, and the conduct of air and missile defense.
The selection and prioritization of precise targets (PSPB) and on time is fundamental for fire support, a bad decision can end in catastrophes as in 1988 when an Iranian passenger plane was shot down by the US, or in 2014 when a Russian missile shot down a Malaysia Airlines plane, or the most recent event in January 2020 when after tensions between the US and Iran, the latter ended up shooting down a Ukraine International plane near Tehran airport, this in a mixture of technological and human failures (Gonzalez, 2020).
The centralization of information and the PSPB task allows the integration of all forms of both military, joint and multinational fires. The lack of joint information can lead to fratricide between troops, while maintaining the balance of fires delivered to each target according to military need.
Air and ground reconnaissance systems with image digitizing and analysis capabilities play a critical role in this task. It is important that the target is differentiated if it is a field or rocket battery, if the missiles are ground-to-air, ground-to-ground, etc., since the capacity that the army must employ for its neutralization with another fire unit or by means of maneuver units depends on this.
In the case of fires, an important application that could occur with the use of AI is simulation. In this topic China has been a pioneer in the development of war-games that have become famous around the world in which systems such as Prophet 1.0 developed by the Institute of Automation of the Chinese Academy of Sciences are employed (Kania, 2019).
As the destructive capability of artillery is so significant, AI must equally ensure collateral damage reduction thanks to the precision that the systems provide.
The use of AI allows the principles of sustainment to be met more effectively; such as integration by keeping information updated and centralized making coordination easier; anticipation, which is one of the strengths of machine learning as seen above making the logistics commander able to anticipate with more or less time the requirements of the theater of operations; responsiveness, since having intelligent, robotic and other elements enabled by AI makes responses to changing situations more agile, avoiding the use of personnel who should be on the front lines in support activities and keeping the commander focused on the battle and not on the logistical, personnel and health requirements of the battle; economy, which is improved and strengthened by using only what is necessary thanks to systems that make better decisions avoiding duplication of functions and tasks that are developed in addition to prioritizing the allocation of resources according to needs; survival, the troops may have better equipment to protect them in the combat field with the use of intelligent textiles, external or internal sensors that capture vital information of the combatant with which decisions are made to ensure that this can survive in hostile situations that threaten his life and therefore the fulfillment of the mission; continuity, by having an integrated information network that integrates all sustainment issues and that with ML, DL, data analytics and, in general, predictive analysis tools, allows the commander to optimize his sustainment lines and expand his operational scope.
Likewise, the maintenance processes and availability of spare parts for vehicles, facilities and other real estate that need to be maintained over time and guarantee their life cycle in an adequate manner. The sensors installed in these elements keep informed in this case the logistic units in charge of planning such as the JEMPP and executing units such as the Logistic Command COLOG allowing that the spare parts, maintenance and manpower necessary for this purpose can arrive in the time, way and place required thus avoiding that functions such as mobility, maintenance and others are affected.
AI not only contributes to sustainment with information but also with the incorporation of robotic machinery that allows the replacement of operator labor, which is increasingly difficult to obtain and maintain in institutions such as the Army.
Likewise, the provisioning with machines or drones is a reality that today is applied in large armies and in companies that distribute products with these elements.
Protection complies with some principles, among which is that of being multilevel, this thanks to the use of AI tools and human operators can be strengthened by ensuring the detection and reaction of the force protection mechanisms according to the level of penetration that an enemy threat has had and the type of decision that is required to be taken in response to it.
For effective and timely protection, it is important to have knowledge not only of the enemy but also of the entire operational environment, which has already been mentioned on several occasions how knowledge of it is strengthened thanks to AI.
Likewise, with regard to the principle of durability in protection, which proposes its duration in the future with material and human resources, it is much simpler, more economical and durable to place a set of sensors that detect some type of substance and explosive than to place a shift of guards with support animals that inspect person by person.
The use of cameras with facial recognition capabilities can analyze thousands of faces and identify people in a way that a human cannot, an example of which is the FacePRO facial system with DL technology manufactured by Panasonic (Panasonic, n.d.).
Although it may seem contradictory, the most important thing for the development of artificial intelligence is the development of human intelligence through training and scientific and human development. It is necessary that these elements are accompanied by technological advances that are incorporated into the daily life of the commanders and executors of the operations carried out by the army. It is also important that the country and its armed forces continue with cooperation and defense agreements with other states, or organizations that bring together several of them, as well as non-state actors, which have made significant progress on the subject and that technology transfer can be carried out and reach the Forces.
In Central and South America there is still no important reference in the subject, which opens an opportunity for our country to become a regional reference with the leverage of the Armed Forces and private enterprise. For this reason, the National Army should begin to take its first steps in this effort by addressing the following recommendations, as follows:
- Creation of an organizational structure within the Force that starts with the research work on AI.
- Generate a technological modernization strategy that includes Artificial Intelligence for the Army.
- Promote training and learning within the force.
- Recruit professionals with high development and innovation capabilities that contribute to the generation of AI-based solutions.
- Generate incentives for personnel who are trained and carry out projects on the subject in order to motivate the permanence in the Force and not the escape of new personnel.
- Generate doctrine and framework
- Create networks and knowledge communities within the force, with other national and international forces and with civilian companies, in order to maximize the benefits of shared knowledge.
- Create lines of development and research in AI and its technologies.
Finally, it should be taken into account that human beings are imperfect creatures, and that imperfection is transferred in one way or another to everything that creates and gives life; AI is no stranger to this.
2 Creative destruction is the process by which an innovation changes the prevailing business model of an industry. Creative destruction requires two elements: creation and destruction. That is to say, the new invention necessarily replaces and makes the existing one disappear. The dissemination of the term creative destruction was the work of Joseph Schumpeter (Westreicher, n.d.).
3 Agent denotes in general a system that processes information and produces an output from an input. (Ertel, 2017, pp. 17-18) agent is intelligent based on the reasoning it makes according to the information it possesses. The Agent makes a suitable decision based on data and the time it has to analyze it. Currently, work is being done in multi-agent systems, which are different agents, with different capabilities, working together to solve a problem (Garcia, 2016, p. 5).
4 Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) describes how the U.S. Army, As part of the joint force, can counter and defeat a near adversary capable of competing with the U.S. In all domains, both in competition and in armed conflict.(U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, 2018).
5 A hybrid threat is the diverse and dynamic combination of regular forces, irregular forces, terrorist forces, and/or unified criminal elements to achieve mutually beneficial effects (CEDOE, 2017)
6 The term fifth generation warfare, did not take long to begin to be mentioned in the fields of defense and security, this is nothing more than taking advantage of the massive use of cybernetic means, through which it is possible to obtain, “the dominion of the mind” ( Suazo Molina, 2017).
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any agency of the U.S. government, Diálogo magazine, or its members. This Academia article was machine-translated.