A Russian soldier demonstrates the targeting capabilities of the Marker unmanned ground vehicle in a still from a video published February 7, 2019, by the Russian Foundation for Advanced Research Projects in the Defense Industry. (Source: Russian Foundation for Advanced Research Projects in the Defense Industry/CNA)

Report on Russian AI Advances Used in Hacks against U.S. Companies Puts Military on Alert

Remember during the previous administration how much Russia was in the news?  And while we stay away from political comparisons on any level here at Seeflection.com, it’s being reported that Russia is making more news and AI is a large part of it. It’s not all good news either. The ongoing reports about Solarwinds and the 150-company hack that is being blamed on Russia. The recent oil pipeline ransomware attack also points to Russia.

We have long been aware of the neverending struggle between the world superpowers as they try to stay one step ahead of the competition. Especially when it comes to weapons, and defensive systems, such as robot weapons and other high-tech tools of war. A recent report by the Center for Naval Analysis shows there really is a lot to be concerned about regarding Russia and China and their use of AI in creating weapons.

The report entitled “Artificial Intelligence and Autonomy in Russia” was published recently by the CNA nonprofit research and analysis group located in Arlington, Virginia.

The report’s authors worked closely with the Pentagon’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center to produce what the organization called “the first major piece of U.S. research that articulates contemporary Russia’s main initiatives, achievements, and accomplishments in AI and autonomy efforts and places those initiatives within the broader technological landscape in Russia.”

Two publications are raising the alarm about those adversarial countries investing time, treasure and AI to be the supreme military power on the planet. Tom O’Conner of newsweek.com highlights the CNA findings in this way:

“Russian military strategists have placed a premium on establishing what they refer to as ‘information dominance on the battlefield,'” the report stated, “and AI-enhanced technologies promise to take advantage of the data available on the modern battlefield to protect Russia’s own forces and deny that advantage to the adversary.”

And it isn’t even the fact that the Russkies have been devoted to major upgrades in their military heavily since 2009. It is the friendly way China and Russia are choosing to work to together on military exercises and signing treaties no matter how minor between Putin and Xi.

Trends clearly signal that Russian efforts to introduce these advanced capabilities are well underway. And critical input is coming from China, which the report identified as

“the key partner for Russia in the sphere of high technology in general and artificial intelligence in particular.”

This cooperation, part of a broader strategic partnership fostered by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, has only strengthened despite efforts by the United States to target its top near-peer competitors with various sanctions.

Since there are only three superpowers on Earth, and if two of them are working together, it means the third power should be vigilant.

read more at newsweek.com

C4ISR.net’s Take on the Russia Report

If the acronym C4ISR doesn’t ring a bell, it’s the name of a military news website that stands for command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities. And it is abundantly clear that AI algorithms are making all these things far valuable and rapidly attainable

And whether it sounds sci-fi or not, the evidence points to the fact that robots, drones, and AVs will make up the majority of a nation’s army in the very near future. In many ways it already is. If it’s a fact that the U.S. does have these “superweapons,” then you can be sure the other guys have them too.

The Russian government is using artificial intelligence to analyze changing geopolitical events using data from previous global armed conflicts, the report found. Operationally, its military is trying to link platforms across different military branches to share information in order to “better coordinate forces and make faster decisions,” similar to the Pentagon’s new joint war-fighting concept known as Joint All-Domain Command and Control.

“This is a very different military, qualitatively especially, and they are trying to be flexible in ways that we don’t give them credit for,” said Sam Bendett, a co-author and research analyst at the Center for Naval Analyses. “This is a different military than the ones that existed prior to 2009 and going forward it’s going to become more high tech [and] more integrated. It’s going to be more flexible. It’s going to use different approaches to try and gain that advantage.”

Russia’s military views completely autonomous weapons as an “inevitability” based on its perceptions of the U.S. and China that the systems will become fully autonomous.

“This is part of the overall Russian security mindset about the United States … that where we have an advantage, we’re just going to keep pushing,” said Jeffrey Edmonds, a senior research scientist at CNA and report co-author.

The Russian military is “heavily emphasizing” investments in autonomy for aerial, ground, and maritime unmanned and robotic platforms. Bendett and Edmonds said that the Russian military views robots as a future replacement for soldiers and an important avenue to saving the lives of its war-fighters in the future.

Russia’s conflicts in Syria and Ukraine have been a proving ground for its development of AI and autonomous weapons because the military has learned how to manage information better. By July 2018, the Russians flew 23,000 UAV missions with 140,000 flight hours, the report noted, used primarily for short- and mid-range ISR. Still, Russia lacks a “true combat UAV capable of striking targets.” In Ukraine, CNA found the Russian military used drones for reconnaissance and artillery spotting.

Both stories we have linked are packed with great information that you may not have thought much about. Or maybe you have. Either way, the idea of using weapons of war to save lives has been tried before. It fails miserably every single time.

read more at c4isrnet.com