China developing battlefield AI for high-technology warfare

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FILE – In this April 12, 2018, file photo released by Xinhua News Agency, Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks after reviewing the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy fleet in the South China Sea. A new Pentagon report lays out U.S. concerns about China’s growing military might, underscoring worries about a possible attack against Taiwan. The report’s release on Jan. 15, 2019 came just a week after Chinese President Xi Jinping called on his People’s Liberation Army to better prepare for combat. (Li Gang/Xinhua via AP, File)

 

A Chinese military newspaper has outlined how the People’s Liberation Army plans to deploy artificial intelligence (AI) for its forces in future high-technology warfare.

The PLA Daily reported Jan. 19 that warfare is shifting from conventional destruction to artificial-intelligence-powered high-speed and extreme destruction operations.

Li Minghai of the PLA’s National Defense University wrote that AI will be a key “war-winning mechanism” for China.

“Through gunpowder smoke in war, we can perceive that today, war fighting has evolved from bloody struggle for storming castles and capturing territories in the uncivilized and barbaric age into information-driven precision decapitation operations and intense contests in the domain of high intelligence,” Mr. Li stated.

The military expert said China plans to win wars by shifting the emphasis in war fighting from “systems confrontation” to “algorithms competition” and that achieving superiority in algorithms ultimately will produce “war-fighting superiority.”

“In future warfare, the force that enjoys algorithm superiority will be able to rapidly and accurately predict the development of the battlefield situation, thus coming up with the best combat-fighting methods and achieving the war objective of ‘prevailing before battle starts,’” Mr. Li said.

A second requirement is the use of large data sets that can be rapidly converted through algorithms to war-fighting intelligence.

“Thus, the force with algorithm superiority will be able to disperse ‘battlefield fog’ emerging because data cannot be processed in a timely way, and can gain more profound insights into the battlefield situation,” he wrote.

Additionally, when applied to quantum computing, AI will produce exponential acceleration effects that will allow the PLA to create “decision-making superiority” in conflicts. AI-powered forces will permit unmanned, AI-driven aircraft to rapidly defeat all advanced fighter aircraft.

The report said Russian forces in Syria conducted an operation in late 2015 using six unmanned tracked combat vehicles, four unmanned wheeled combat vehicles and one unmanned aerial vehicle to assault an Islamic State target. The battle killed 70 terrorists in what the report called the first case of the use of mainly robot forces.

AI war fighting in the future will utilize a combination of autonomous weaponry and forces with traditional manned forces.

According to Mr. Li, the PLA is developing “extreme operations” that break through the boundaries of traditional warfare. “Victories in AI warfare will be scored through bringing forward the time of issuing early warnings, shortening the period of decision-making and extending operational actions, thus producing the effects of making pre-emptive deployments and launching pre-emptive attacks,” he stated, while producing “a higher level of surprise” among enemy forces.

One system discussed in the report is the use of stealth drones the size of a beetle that can be used to scan a soldier’s face. “Through data analysis and judgment, it can directly hit the target’s head, and can even pierce the human brain by carrying a payload,” the report said.

Using a large number of robots in clustered operations “may produce extremely huge power that exceeds a nuclear weapon’s explosion,” Mr. Li said.

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Full article: China developing battlefield AI for high-technology warfare (The Washington Times)

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