AI analysis: Can a chatbot really be good for defence?
The global appeal of AI technology was made abundantly clear in January when ChatGPT’s developers announced an incredible 100 million active users just two months post-launch.
To put this into context, it took TikTok nine months to gain this number and Instagram over two years.
So what it is it about AI and, in this case, ChatGPT – a natural language AI-enabled chatbot tool – that has us gripped?
The answer lies most certainly in its capability but also in the way that it interacts with the user on a near-human-like level. As well as having has access to billions of data points across many subjects, ChatGPT uses and analyses human language to generate (US) English that is almost indistinguishable from a native, human speaker.
So far so good. But what does the success of a programme such as ChatGPT mean for defence and specifically ISR capability?
Optimising defence capability
Quite simply, as a language model trained to process and generate human-like language, this technology has the ability to revolutionise the way defence operates in the future.
While not a physical weapon or piece of equipment, this capability in natural language processing and generation has the potential to greatly enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of various defence technologies.
One area where ChatGPT specifically could make a significant impact is in the development and implementation of autonomous systems. These systems, which include unmanned vehicles and drones, are becoming increasingly common in military operations. By integrating ChatGPT into these systems, they could better understand and respond to natural language commands and instructions, making them more flexible and adaptable in dynamic environments.
Command and control
But if we look at AI and ML, when it comes to C2 and integrating this into Battle Management Systems, these are already being used in the development of intelligent decision-making systems for defence operations. By analysing vast amounts of data and providing insights based on natural language processing, AI-enabled software such as SitaWare Insight can enable military strategists and decision-makers to make better, more informed choices. This could range from tactical decision-making on the battlefield to high-level strategic planning.
Another area where ChatGPT could be useful is in the development of virtual training systems such as SitaWare Aspire. By providing realistic scenarios and natural language responses, AI can enable more immersive and effective training for military personnel. This could lead to better preparedness and improved outcomes in real-world situations.
Pros and cons
Overall, the potential applications of ChatGPT in defence technology are vast and varied. As with all capability – in the wrong hands – it can always be used for nefarious purposes, many of which have already been well documented.
While there are certainly challenges to implementing this technology, including issues around data privacy and security, the benefits it could bring to defence operations make it an exciting prospect for the future.
And with warfare increasingly being waged in the cyber and information battlespace, and as natural language processing and generation continues to advance, we can expect to see ChatGPT and similar technologies play an increasingly important role in the defence industry.
Therefore companies such as Systematic must ensure they continue to innovate and invest in AI – providing the best possible advantage for their military customers. As the success of ChatGPT demonstrates, the pace of change when it comes to defence technology is rapid and unrelenting.