The Next Big War Will Turn on AI, Says US Secret-Weapons Czar

The Next Big War Will Turn on AI, Says US Secret-Weapons Czar image
March 25, 2018 | Source: Defense One, defenseone.com, 28 March 2017, Patrick Tucker

William Roper says the military must get better at feeding the voracious learning algorithms that will fight future battles.


The first day of the next major conflict shouldn’t look like war at all according to William Roper, who runs the Pentagon’s Strategic Capabilities Office, or SCO. Instead, imagine a sort of digital collection blitzkrieg, with data-gathering software and sensors setting of alarms left and right as they vacuum up info for a massive AI. Whoever collects the most data on Day One just might win the war before a single shot is fired.

“My prediction for the future is that when we go out to fly planes on the first day of battle, whether they are manned or unmanned, that the purpose of the first day or the second day will not be to go out and destroy enemy aircraft or other systems. It’s to go out, collect data, do data reconnaissance, so that our learning system gets smarter than [the enemy’s],” Roper said Tuesday at an Air Force Association event on Tuesday. “Every day you fly, you get that exponential increase in sophistication.”