Can the computer algorithms for determining the actual causes of the war?

Image photo (REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/Illustration)

DARPA, BAE Systems and the Air Force Research Lab as a pioneer in new computer simulations, algorithms and advanced software to the military decision-makers organized in the near real-time information about the causes of war and conflict in the operating scenarios.

On the basis of a range of otherwise disconnected sources of raw data, the new software program that is designed to use reasoning algorithms and simulations to analyze intelligence reports, scientific theories, environmental factors, and the details of the operational scenarios and other forms of user input.

“It’s about taking information from different sources that would be impossible for a person to consume in a short period of time,” Jonathan Goldstein, Senior Principal Scientist, Autonomy Controls and Estimation, BAE Systems, told the Warrior Maven in an interview.

The Air Force Research Laboratory, was recently awarded a $4.2 million deal to BAE Systems to develop CONTEXT; DARPA is the sponsor of BAE’s efforts.

The emerging product, the so-called Causal Exploration of the Complex Operational environment (CONTEXT) models with various political, territorial and economic tensions are often the cause of conflict. These nodes, or variables that are part of a complex, but interwoven chain of causes, are things like economic stress, terrorism, tribal, or religious conflicts and problems about the resources or the territorial disputes, among other things.

“The technology assesses the causal insertions in different forms and innovating them in a model of the interrelated causal relationships that are present in otherwise disconnected sources. We build a model that can be quickly used by an expert, so that when a new conflict arises, decision-makers can understand the underlying issues,” Goldstein said.

While on the surface, organizing, and running a number of analyses of large groups of data would be able to bring AI to the spirit, the CONTEXT evaluates material input from users and does not necessarily access huge volumes of historical or stored data. Still, it seems to perform a certain degree of automation and AI as functions, to the extent that it organizes and integrates the different sources for a human decision-maker.

“This shortens the decision cycle. People are not good at maintaining a causal model with complexity in their head. The software creates a graph of the causes, evaluate approaches and discusses the possible consequences of a certain approach,” Goldstein explained.

Automation and AI, which, of course, progress in the area of lighting speed these days, are often described in terms of the easing of the “cognitive load,” which means that they can quickly perform analyses, and a series of procedural functions to present to a man in a command, control and capacity.

At the same time, the causes of the conflict are often a complex by-product of a range of more subjective to certain variables influenced by concepts, personality, individual psychology, historical nuances, and larger sociological phenomena. This of course raises the question as to how much that even the most advanced computer programs for this and other less “hard” factors.

Leading AI and cybersecurity experts often say that advanced algorithms can analyze data and quickly perform procedural functions much faster than human cognition – but there are still many things that are known to be unique to human cognition. Man solving problems, interpreting emotions, and at times react to certain variables in a way that the best computer technology.

“War is the causality is always more than established. Even with advanced statistical regressions on very large datasets, it is unlikely that the causes of the conflict can be determined with an accuracy,” Ross Rustici, Senior Director, intelligence services, Cybereason and former department of defense Cyber Lead Intrusion Analyst and Technical Lead for the DoD, Eastern Asia, told Warrior Maven.

At the same time, despite the natural limitations, using software and simulation to analyze data in this way is of course not useless, Rustici added.

Calling CONTEXT is a “step in the right direction,” Rustici said: “every effort to update the of war, persecution, and war termination planning will go a long way in the direction of the update of a military that has learned hard lessons in the fight against terrorism and the regime of the building. Obtaining a better understanding of how populations and defeated the military groups will react to tactics for winning the war and securing the peace is something that is much too late.”

Rustici further elaborated that the human understanding of some elements of causality can, without a doubt, a beneficial effect in many ways. However, there are of course significant limitations, and few would disagree that there are many concepts, feelings, variables, and subjective factors informing the causality – highlighting the general recognition that, despite the pace of technological computer advances, there are still many things that machines can’t do.

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