Usually associated with sci-fi scenarios, literature or utopian/dystopian movies, artificial intelligence technologies have invested more and more areas of our individual lives and communities over the past twenty years. Today, every sector is influenced, affected, standardised or administered by AI systems and advanced algorithms. The armed forces, like the societies they serve, are no exception to this trend. Today, artificial intelligence technologies, supported by complex algorithms and big data produced by highly diversified digital networks, have extended their influence – and perhaps even their empire– in nearly all dimensions of human life. War is one of these dimensions, and some are already wondering whether it will continue to remain a dialectic of human wills.
Artificial intelligence, which is already at the heart of an acute technological race, is about to disrupt both the political decision-making processes and the modes of military action of the armed forces. Like every technical revolution, the AI revolution will participate in the emergence of new players and the relegation of old ones, when it is not purely and simply about their erasure. Whether they master the applications issued from AI or suffer its effects, future defence organisations will experience unprecedented transformations. Caught between concepts as “Singularity”, “hyper wars”, “algorithmic warfare”, “autonomous weapons systems”, “quantum cryptography”, “flash wars” and “IApocalypses”, concepts, prospects and scenarios clash together and let foresee an uncertain future. Welcome to the strategic era of artificial intelligence.