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Army to host seminar on artificial intelligence next week; seeks to enhance its lethality

Artificial intelligence is an emerging, disruptive technology affecting civil and military domains across the globe, a senior army official said.

PTI|
Sep 20, 2019, 10.19 PM IST
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A few officers from the Air Force and the Navy are also slated to attend the seminar.
NEW DELHI: With artificial intelligence set to dictate change in the nature of future battlefields, a first-of-its kind thematic seminar is being organised by the Army on September 25, seeking to harness the power of AI to boost the armed forces' combat capabilities, officials said on Friday. The seminar on AI, the first in connection with military field formation, being organised by the South Western Command 'Sapta Shakti' of the Army at Hisar Military Station, will also be attended by domain experts from academia and the industry.

Artificial intelligence is an emerging, disruptive technology affecting civil and military domains across the globe, a senior army official said.

"The aim of the event is to bring together professionals, eminent speakers from the defence industry, academia, defence officers to brainstorm the way ahead with an objective to identify and conceptualise AI-based defence applications and platforms for the future battlefield," he said.

South Western Command chief Lt Gen Alok Singh Kler said, disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence will dictate how the future warfare will happen.

"And, though we are late to begin on the AI front, we are good at catching up. And, this seminar intends to bring together senior officers from the forces, and experts from academia and industry to brainstorm on how this technology can be adapted and adopted to enhance our combat capabilities," he said.

Lt Gen Kler is the 10th GOC-in-C (General Officer Commanding in Chief) of the Jaipur-based South Western Command and was commissioned in Armoured Corps in 1982.

He said the need for harnessing the power of AI has arisen as warfares will become "more and more complex" with intervention of such technologies.

"From sword-versus-sword in old era, the nature of warfare in 20th century and ahead will be driven hugely by technology and the apparatus and communication structure around it will generate a massive range of data that is not feasible for a human brain grasp, comprehend and analyse.

"Hence, we need AI to enhance our decision-making capabilities in a short time to reach our military objectives vis-a-vis any adversary," he said.

Another senior official said the purpose of this seminar is to pave the way to boost the armed forces' combat capabilities and enhance its battle readiness through use of artificial intelligence to adapt itself to the needs of the 21st century.

Lt Gen Kler said, "We are embarking on a journey with this seminar, and whatever we are doing on the disruptive technology front is aligned with what is happening on the Western Front," he said.

The pace of how the military landscape will be changed by technologies world over will be "dictated by global trends," he said.

"The purpose of harnessing AI is to make our force sharper, more lethal in future as we have to be ahead of the enemy in meeting our military objectives, which may include movement of a unit of the mechanised force from point A to point B, or analysing a huge cache of data in real-time to respond to a situation," the Army commander said.

An exhibition -- 'Sapta Shakti' Wartech Exhibition will also be organised as part of the event having a tagline -- 'Empowering the Future Soldier' -- to bring together Army and the defence industry under one roof with an aim to synergise Army's aspirations and the efforts of the industry.

An Army spokesperson said, "As technology evolves, in future we want to be more accurate, more efficient, and engage our main resource -- 'the manpower' -- more potently and effectively. We need to harness the power of AI into our platforms as well as our procedures. And, we have embarked on this journey with vigour".

The presence of the academia, which will include experts from IISc, Bangalore, at the event shall also give direction for the efforts to be put into R&D for future weapon platforms, the official said.

A few officers from the Air Force and the Navy are also slated to attend the seminar.

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