Artificial security and defence intelligence of the European Union

According to the study published by the European Union Institute for Security Studies, in the coming years artificial intelligence (AI) will be present in almost all areas of daily life: communication, healthcare and even security and defence. 

In the area of defence, AI may be an opportunity and a threat at the same time. On the one hand, we have a lack of human perspective regarding the deployment of weapons, which may lead to violations of international norms related to the conduct of war. On the other hand, AI is seen as an improvement in decision-making in military procedures. The question here is the following: in a situation of tension and emotion, does AI add value or is it a handicap when making decisions? Will the EU miss the opportunity of intervening in the AI revolution?

However, developing a strategy of defence based on AI will depend on the attitude of the governments of each country. They will decide if it is necessary to invest enough capital in R+D and robot processes.

AI can be used as a tool aimed at CSDP (EU’S Common Security and Defence Policy) missions and operations, in phases of detection, preparation and detection.

In the first phase (detection), AI could allow the UE to gather information and data about geographically distant countries instead of sending technical personnel to the zone. Interpretation of the information could also be of interest, as it provides a broader vision of the conflict and of the dynamics of the crisis that the country or region is going through. This new phenomenon could help other organs of the EU, like SIAC (Single Intelligence Analysis Capacity), to fill the gap between detection and the first action. Moreover, AI would improve the detection of capacities at a technical level. For example, it could provide support for the choosing of localities to provide humanitarian aid, or to better locate where to set up refugee camps or identify water supplies, etc.

In the second phase (preparation), AI may have a significant role in decision-making processes by the CSDP. AI would be used to classify and prioritise policies in accordance with pre-programmed criteria and thereby allow legislators to have knowledge of more precise factors and costs. Therefore, AI can promote a better distribution of resources during missions and operations and also give the Security Policy Committee a broader vision of the crisis and its context. The study also speaks of other skills that this type of intelligence might offer. Like, for example, intervening in processes of recording of actions of individuals and terrorist groups, in which data is based on past actions, doctrines and/or strategies. In this phase, everything related to transport and aid is included, with the understanding that AI may be useful to create semi-autonomous vehicles to protect convoys sent to hostile territories, or NGO workers, healthcare personnel or diplomats.

In the third phase (protection), the main objective of AI will be to provide the EU with help in order to protect its personnel and improve their resistance when in action, in the case of CSDP military forces. Current research into this intelligence proves that in the technological field it has more possibilities to be used, with image sensors in dark or hostile zones, and to provide medical guidance for both human and robot doctors.

Current interest in this new discipline is gaining in importance as a counter measure to combat cybercrime, as this is on the increase. With AI, European personnel could be protected from misinformation campaigns (fake news, images, false videos…) and cyber-attacks.

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