Études de l'Ifri Focus Stratégique

Intelligence artificielle : vers une nouvelle révolution militaire ? Focus stratégique, No. 84, October 2018

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a priority defense issue for the military powers of the 21st century. Unsurprisingly, the United States and China are currently at the forefront of this new digitalized arms race. 


As AI aims to emulate cognitive processes with algorithms and automated processing of big data, it is capable to undertake a growing number of specific tasks in which it surpasses human performances. In the military field, it enables a better management and simulation of the operational environment, provide threats detection, process and simplify large quantities of collected intelligence and to deliver an elementary analysis. In this light, military AI perpetuates the Revolution in Military Affairs that began in the 1990s and now appears as the main path to achieving tactical superiority. As autonomy is progressively becoming a new strategic staple, proponents of a “military humanism” underline the limits of technology, the wide span of potential counter-measures as well as the risk of a loss of control, or a dehumanization of war leading to reconsider the warrior ethos. If these evolutions prompt for a new balance in man-machine teaming, the longer term prospect of the advent of a “strong AI”, one that would be truly autonomous, could transform even more the political-military relationship, and even alter the very nature of the war.



This content is available in French: Intelligence artificielle : vers une nouvelle révolution militaire ?

Artificial Intelligence Big Data Defense war