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Science, Technology and Industry (Spotlight Brief 4/21)

20 July 2021

The content in this article is an extract of Spotlight Brief 4/21.

Defense Against the Dark Arts in Space: Protecting Space Systems from Counterspace Weapons

Center for Strategic and International Studies – Feb 21

On 19 May 21, Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld announced the formation of a Space Command that would draw upon personnel from all three Services. The Army will play a significant role in building Australia’s Space Domain capabilities. This report from CSIS is an excellent summary of the passive and active measures to protect satellites and ground infrastructure from various threats. This report simultaneously offers Army personnel a more comprehensive knowledge of space operations, as well as options and methods for offensive and defensive actions within the Land domain.


‘The commercial advantage in space’s grey zone’, The Strategist, 16 Jun 21

‘Space-Based Capabilities Critical to U.S. National Security, DOD Officials Say’, Department of Defense, 24 May 21

‘What is Australia's space division, and why is it in the military?’, ABC News, 13 May 21

‘An Australian ‘space command’ could be a force for good — or a cause for war’, The Conversation, 01 Apr 21

‘Placement of Weapons in Outer Space: The Dichotomy Between Word and Deed’, Lawfare, 28 Jan 21

Linking National Security and Innovation

Center for Strategic and International Studies – Feb 21

“A few years ago, a startup working on cutting-edge, AI-driven sensor technology valuable for [uncrewed] aerial vehicles approached the Pentagon, was given a sheaf of forms, and was told to fill them out and come back in a few months. By coincidence, a [foreign] investor approached him at the same time and offered to write a check for $10 million on the spot.” This report examines the intersection between national security organisations and innovation, identifying  holes and obstacles that negate the benefits of new technologies.


‘New defence-innovation agency helps Adelaide AI spinoff enter US market’, Mirage News, 15 Jun 21

‘The Tension Between Secrecy and Innovation’, Foreign Policy Research Institute, 10 May 21

‘Commercial Interest Grows in Defense Innovation Unit’, National Defense, 05 Apr 21

‘Tech policy is a matter of national security’, Defense News, 04 Mar 21

‘Investment in Defence Innovation Paying Off’, Defence Science and Technology Group, 09 Feb 21

Cyborgs, Neuroweapons, and Network Command

Scandinavian Journal of Military Studies – Feb 21

Neuroscience and neurotechnology offer reasonably unexplored opportunities to the future Army, with improvements to human brainpower and new options for robotics or artificial intelligence. Katrine Nørgaard and Michael Linden-Vørnle explore neuroscience progress across intelligence, cognitive enhancement and weaponry. Using plain language, they help identify advantages and challenges that cyborg weaponry brings to warfare and military command.


‘The Military Is Funding Ethicists to Keep Its Brain Enhancement Experiments in Check’, Future Human, 01 Apr 21

‘Danger Ahead: Robotics in War Are Ethically Flawed’, Analytics Insight, 28 Mar 21

‘Real-Life Mind-Control Technologies Governments Are Actually Working On’, Interesting Engineering, 22 Mar 21

‘Building trust in human-machine teams’, Brookings, 18 Feb 21

‘Opinion on ‘Responsible Dual Use’’, Human Brian Project, 2018

National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence Final Report

National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence – Mar 21

This report provides an integrated national strategy for the United States to reorganise, reorient and rally in order to compete in the coming era of AI-accelerated competition. At 700+ pages, it is an important document based on two convictions: that the ability of computers to perform tasks that would otherwise require human intelligence is world altering and that the window of vulnerability for the US is expanding. It provides a comprehensive blueprint for the US Government and a significant number of recommendations, including the need to work with private industry, identify suitable uniformed members for work in this area, improve service member’s knowledge and work closely with allies.


‘Artificial Intelligence Act: What Is the European Approach for AI?’, Lawfare, 04 Jun 21

‘Australia’s strategic future hinges on investment in AI’, The Strategist, 13 May 21

‘The US National Security Commission issues its "Final Report on AI in Defense and Intelligence" - here are the takeaways’, Diginomica, 04 May 21

‘Why Australia Needs a National AI Strategy’, Australian Institute for Machine Learning, 24 Mar 21

‘Who leads the world on AI? A decade from now, it might not be the US’, ZDNet, 02 Mar 21

Intelligence after Next: Breaking past AI’s confirmation bias

The MITRE Corporation – Mar 21

The introduction of artificial intelligence into the military has many possible purposes. One of the most commonly discussed is aiding intelligence work. It makes sense; intelligence analysts can often find themselves supplied with a massive amount of information that requires sifting through for a handful of critical data points. Due to their training method, AIs are excellent at finding information that supports an analyst’s hypothesis, but not so at finding contradictory information. Here, Mike Shea offers two paths for developing AIs that can aid in investigating alternate hypotheses better: widening the net of the machine learning algorithms or augmenting the process by including wider numbers of information databases at various points.


‘Questionable Objectivity of AI: Reasons and Means to Mitigate’, Lexology, 14 May 21

‘We Can Now Hear an AI Robot’s Thought Process’, Freethink, 25 Apr 21

‘Is there good bias in AI, or is AI bias always undesirable? Responses to a LinkedIn debate’, Diginomica, 21 Apr 21

‘Objective or Biased’, Bavarian Broadcasting, 18 Feb 21

‘AI fairness is an economic and social imperative. Here's how to address it’, World Economic Forum, 22 Jan 21

The views expressed in this article and subsequent comments are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Australian Army, the Department of Defence or the Australian Government.

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