In the national security decision-making process and military operations, intelligence drives action.
There are numerous ways to gather actionable intelligence: Human Intelligence (HUMINT) is highly valued but very difficult to acquire as it requires experienced officers on the ground. Additionally, HUMINT often comes with a time-lag that frustrates prompt action.
Imagery Intelligence (IMINT), on the other hand, is a safer and faster option since it usually requires an aerial platform of some sort, for example, an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), aircraft, or satellite, to orbit above the target. However, IMINT still needs to be analyzed by experts that will squeeze out any useful information. Moreover, there is often the possibility that things will escape the unblinking eyes of technology.
There is also Signals Intelligence (SIGINT). This type of intelligence is very effective in pinpointing a target’s location and, often, intentions. But it also has its limitations. As the name indicates, SIGINT is gathered by electronic signals, for example, cell phone conversations, radio transmissions, etc. However, if the target is clever enough, it will abstain from all technological devices.
And then there is Open Source Intelligence (OSINT). OSINT is free and everywhere. Newspapers, press releases, online blogs, social media–all contain OSINT tidbits. The sheer amount of information that is out there, however, makes it very hard indeed to find and analyze OSINT that could translate into actionable intelligence.
Say hello to a new military intelligence term: Artificial Intelligence (AI) based intelligence
While military tactics are being continuously improved, there also needs to be an improvement in the way information is analyzed in the army bases. The data collected by drones and robots, while on the war field, needs to be structured and grouped in an organized manner to make the information insightful. Satellite imagery, terrain information, and data from multiple sensors can be used to create situational awareness by applying deep learning, statistical analysis, and probabilistic algorithms to such data.
By rendering artificial cognition to computers, AI has broadened the scope of application for machines. Machines are, as a result, not only performing tasks, they’re making decisions. Applications like data aggregation from nation-wide databases, practice tools for training troops, bioinformatics, and the security options that AI technology offers can be optimized with these intelligent computers. It is due to this competency the technology offers, that scientists have started applying AI in the defense sector to make up for the limitations that humans have.