According to Clausewitz, the primary requirement for military commanders is to understand the character of war clearly. UK’s Ministry of Defence assesses that AI will likely change the character and nature of war by 2050 (or perhaps before). War’s nature is violent interaction between opposing wills driven by politics. Colin Gray declares that war has two natures; ‘objective’ (nature of war) and ‘subjective’ (character of war).
AI is expected to enhance clarity through refined intelligence, thereby reducing friction fog of war and human biases in assimilating the extensive databases.
Increasing reliance on autonomous vehicles may lessen the human and domestic political costs of going to war. It may make it easier for political leaders to choose kinetic means to further national interests. Data-infused and automated combat management systems will augment Coup d’oeil. However, human ingenuity in warfare, creativity, and intuition will remain viable at strategic and operational levels. It is thus considered that the nature of war may not change significantly.
The character of warfare is the manifestation of the war. Technology remains one of the main drivers, as seen in the previous generations of warfare. No wonder, foreseeing the tremendous imprint on the future, contemporary armies have made AI an essential component of their defense strategies. Indian Joint Warfare Doctrine 2017 and US National Security Strategy 2017 emphasized the development and absorption of AI technologies. The character of war will likely undergo fundamental transformation with the increased reliance on AI.
‘The transnational nature of modern technology, data, and AI have changed the nature of war, the balance of power, economic security, and the discussion of national security policies. Hence, Pakistan should re-orient itself as a technology-friendly country, focusing on investing in artificial intelligence, technology, and internet connectivity.’
Artificial Intelligence through data analysis adds value and enhances the efficiency of different instruments of national power. Its adoption is thus vital to increase Pakistan’s national power.
Pakistan ranks 110 amongst 141 countries on the Global Competitiveness Index, implying that Pakistan is low in adopting technology and is thus stuck in low-income economies. AI impacts the economy of Pakistan in such a way that the automation using AI-enabled technologies is gradually reducing the appetite for shifting the industry to low-wage countries. Thus, industrialization in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) of CPEC by foreign investors may not be overwhelming. It is, therefore, vital for Pakistan to promote local entrepreneurs to enhance the industrial capacity of Pakistan.
Agriculture is Pakistan’s major industry, contributing about 24% of Pakistan’s GDP and accounting for half of the employed labor force. It is also amongst the largest sources of foreign exchange earnings. AI can increase crop yield, productivity, field monitoring/soil evaluation, and precision irrigation. However, it requires enormous data collection through drones and field sensors. Furthermore, the skill set of farmers needs to be enhanced, or IT companies will have to be incentivized to focus on this sector. It may be highlighted that the Modern Agriculture Platform (MAP) of Sinochem Agriculture is an AI-based application effectively used in seven provinces of China to increase the productivity of Chinese farmers. Farmers also use the application to send pictures or data for expert advice.
Retail is another sector that can quickly adopt AI. Global online companies such as Amazon and Alibaba are effectively exploiting AI to offer their products as per customer preferences. In Pakistan’s context, it is considered that traditional infrastructure can be leapfrogged using AI, and products of far-flung areas, especially socially deprived areas, can be sold in urban centers using customized apps.
It has been estimated through different analytical models that autonomous robots may replace as much as 30% of the world’s current workforce by 2030. Automation may displace between 400 and 800 million jobs by 2030, which implies that there is a need to impart new skills to as many as 375 million people globally. Foreign remittance is a vital component of Pakistan’s economy, which signifies a focus on developing the skilled workforce to meet future job requirements.
AI in the Government sector permits data-driven governance, increasing services’ efficiency and improving transparency and accountability. NCOC is a vivid example of the benefits of data-driven decisions, which were instrumental in achieving political consensus. Promoting AI in the public sector is thus likely to yield massive dividends.
The transition from the age of information to automation also offers new avenues to exploit data for economic benefits. AI provides means to effectively store, analyse, secure and manipulate data.
With a well-developed IT infrastructure, India is expected to use AI-enabled tools to launch sophisticated disinformation campaigns against Pakistan. In today’s post-truth, India will exploit AI to color code its alternate facts and well-crafted fake news to create disorder and dissatisfaction in Pakistan’s internal front.
The US and India are collaborating in the field of AI. AI also figures out prominently in bilateral cooperation between India and Israel. It implies that India will progress rapidly in AI to accrue economic benefits and strengthen its military prowess. On the diplomatic front, Pakistan’s collaboration with friendly countries is vital to share experience, develop common solutions, and gain competence in AI.
In the military domain, AI provides a strategic edge in military operations. In Pakistan-India, AI has a dominant role in India’s quest to operationalize Non-Contact Warfare and Dynamic Response Strategy. AI-infused cyber and information domain is likely to be heavily contested under the ‘No Peace No War’ perpetual scenario. During the limited conflicts, integrating artificial intelligence into the Observation-Orientation-Decision-Action (OODA) loop framework yields multifaceted advantages. This augmentation empowers decision-makers with intricate and comprehensive intelligence, offering invaluable temporal leeway for meticulous planning and attaining strategic surprises. Such an advantage becomes increasingly crucial in light of contemporary battlefield conditions characterized by heightened transparency.
Technological superiority in AI may also assist in overwhelming belligerent command and control.
Pakistan has both opportunities and challenges due to the changing nature of warfare, which is fuelled by advances in technology and artificial intelligence. While AI can increase national strength, economic growth, and efficiency in many industries, it also requires substantial infrastructure and education investment. Pakistan must prioritize technology adoption, skill development, and international collaboration to harness the potential of AI while protecting its national interests in a world that is becoming more and more AI-driven to adapt to this changing nature of conflict and preserve its future.
The author is an MPhil Scholar of Strategic Studies & is currently working on Nuclear Politics & Disarmament, Emerging Technologies, and New Trends in Warfare. She Tweets @NimrahJaved_