Playing games like Total War: Attila got me thinking of strategies. Obviously, keyboard commander here which is me got no real experience in this sort of things. Still, I want to dig into this sort of things anyway. So, I was thinking that since the Industrial Revolution, machines have allowed the world to be much smaller which has given way to faster communication, faster travel through hard to traverse arteries such as the vast ocean and so forth. These monumental Industrial Revolution byproducts changed how the world conducted its wars, because before the Industrial Revolution wartime strategies had to account how much time it would take for something to be set up and executed. Of course, in today world with advanced AI, Internet, Encryption, Quantum machines, and hypersonic missiles and so forth, we still have to account time as a necessary ingredient in wartime strategy. So imagine how much more important it was for time to be an ingredient in wartime before the time of Industrial Revolution. Nonetheless, I think we’re in the post-Industrial Revolution period now, because the age of Automation is upon us.
My question is, can the age of Automation change almost everything that represents the Industrial Revolution? After all, we had witnessed how the age of Industrial Revolution changed things of the age before it, right? In my opinion, I think the age of Automation will create and change things that will outdated if not all then most of the Industrial Revolution byproducts. For an example, wartime strategies will have to be changed to fit with time in the age of Automation.
One thing for sure, in the age of Automation, time is an even more important ingredient than ever before, because everything will speed up so much faster. Imagine the automation of Artificial Intelligence such as self-learning for machines that would speed up the intelligence of machines so these things can self-regulate and self-plan and self-execute directives according to common sense that the humans drill into these machines’ logic programs. Well, I think since AlphaGo, self-learning AI has already actually happened. In my opinion, self-learning AI may speed things up so much faster that may make human decisions in wartime seem to be outdated as if we’re comparing today supercomputer with the supercomputer of the 1970s. Even better, we should use the analogy of quantum computing versus supercomputing of the 1970s.
As we achieve hypersonic technology to speed up the deliverance of weapons and travel modes, self-learning AI will be able to automate things at much faster pace than ever before physically. Of course, this would force humans to have less time to plan than ever before when changes occur in wartime. Unless us humans could predict the future, us humans may use self-learning AI to pre-plan possible scenarios of wartime changes to allow self-learning AI to be even faster in execution during a war.
Furthermore, self-learning AI could allow the automation of swarming tech to advance further. Immagine a swarming of missiles that is capable of allowing each missile to be smart and carrying its own decoys. The idea of blocking out the sun with swarming of smart missiles and decoys and at the same time preventing the negative chain reaction among the missiles could be very interesting indeed. What could be automated in the air could also be automated in the sea, and so we could expect more of the same smart machines that would be self-driven to attack targets using the sea as the cover and a travel medium.
Weapons and AI could be categorized as the ingredients for tactical operations, but if one thinks bigger then one could see the accumulation of tactical events would paint a picture of strategy. Over time, automation would replace the ways that we’re using to conduct a war in wartime.
It is normal for us to belittle continental powers of the past when they disregarded naval power even though some of these continental powers were faced with vast ocean fronts. But we have to know that before the Industrial Revolution age the ocean was regarded as a natural barrier. Some historic continental powers took such idea into comfort till disasters struck them down for good.
Some historic naval powers were overconfident with their naval strength and didn’t develop their land forces, allowing their only strength to be taken out by their smarten-up adversaries. If I’m not wrong, the Phoenicians were a naval superpower but the Romans were not. Of course, the Romans turned the tide against the Phoenicians when the Romans figured out how to build similar ships to the Phoenicians’ ones. I think the Romans caught a sunken Phoenician ship on its shore and managed to reverse-engineer it to make copies. Afterward, the Phoenicians were history.
In today world, I don’t think countries that border ocean would dare to favor land forces over naval forces or vice versa. Why? Natural barriers are no longer a big deal nowadays. Nowadays we got technology that could go undersea, on the sea, on the land, over the land, invisibly in the air, and into space — think you can take any comfort in any natural barrier? We could be doing all of these things in hypersonic speed in the very near future. So I think it’s foolishly for any country to rely on outdated strategies of the past ages when such a country has to confront with possible adversaries in the age of Automation.
A country such as China is not only thinking about building up a modern naval force to protect the maritime silk road, but this country is also building up channels on land to tap into all possible solutions and scenarios. Gone the day of Zheng He’s downfall when a new Chinese emperor thought maritime power was useless because he took the comfort of a natural barrier. Could we afford to make the same mistakes today by relying on natural barriers and other misguided comforts? I don’t think it’s wise to take any comfort in the age of Automation because I think even self-learning AI could be hacked into. I’m pretty confident that wartime strategies for tomorrow will be way different than the past.