AI & The Future of Modern Warfare | Summary and Q&A

February 6, 2023
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AI & The Future of Modern Warfare


AI has the potential to revolutionize modern warfare by enabling automation, autonomy, and decision-making at scale.

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Key Insights

  • 🥶 Automation plays a significant role in simplifying operations and freeing up human operators for more critical tasks.
  • 🌥️ AI enables large-scale warfare, increasing the volume and precision of activities, while addressing manpower limitations.
  • 🏆 Autonomy in contested environments is essential to counteract signal jamming and maintain operational effectiveness.
  • ✳️ The conflict in Ukraine showcases both the strategic importance and potential risks of AI technologies in warfare.
  • 💱 The government's adoption of AI technologies is progressing, but there are challenges in implementing holistic changes to traditional defense structures.
  • 🎖️ The US military's acceptance of AI technologies is accelerating, with a focus on modernizing defense capabilities and embracing software-driven approaches.


foreign welcome great to be here with you at this uh this Summit um why don't we just start because we have a limited amount of time here uh Adam Brandon Brian going down the line here and just tell us who you are and what you do and maybe even hit on that word AI awesome uh so I'm Adam Bree I'm co-founder and CEO of skydio uh and we make small lig... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: How is AI currently being applied in the military?

AI is primarily being used for automation, enabling mechanical and repetitive tasks to be carried out by AI systems, freeing up human operators for more critical decision-making.

Q: What are the four critical areas where AI will have the most impact in modern warfare?

The four areas are autonomy, battle management systems, hypersonics, and space. Autonomy allows for intelligent decision-making in contested environments, battle management systems aid in quick decision-making at scale, hypersonics and space provide faster response and intelligence gathering capabilities.

Q: Why is human judgment and creativity still important in AI-enabled warfare?

AI should augment human capabilities rather than replace them, as human judgment and creativity are crucial for complex decision-making in unpredictable situations. AI provides leverage and support for more effective and efficient operations.

Q: How has the conflict in Ukraine highlighted the risks and importance of AI technologies in warfare?

The conflict has demonstrated the strategic relevance of civilian drones and the potential security risks associated with using certain drone technologies. The use of AI-enabled drones by both sides has become a matter of life and death, emphasizing the need for secure and reliable technologies.


This transcript is a discussion among three technology executives, Adam, Brandon, and Brian, about the future of AI in modern warfare. They discuss the importance of AI in various aspects of military operations, such as autonomy, battle management, and space exploration. They also emphasize the need for the government to invest in these areas and the challenges of convincing the military to adopt new technologies. The panelists also share their experiences working with the government and highlight the impact of AI in the conflict in Ukraine.

Questions & Answers

Q: What is the mission of Shield AI?

Shield AI's mission is to protect service members and civilians with intelligent systems. They focus on building AI pilots for various types of aircraft, from quadcopters for Special Operations forces to fighter jets.

Q: How do AI pilots enable aircraft to operate without GPS and communications?

AI pilots enable aircraft to operate without GPS and communications by using self-driving technology. They can make intelligent decisions and maneuver in contested electronic warfare environments.

Q: What is the importance of automation in military operations?

Automation is important in military operations as it allows for the delegation of mechanical, repetitive, and predictable tasks to AI systems. This enables scalability and efficiency, as it reduces the need for a large number of human operators.

Q: How does AI provide leverage to operators in drone operations?

AI provides leverage to drone operators by automating the flying process. With AI-powered drones, one operator can handle multiple drones and focus on mission execution rather than manual flying. This increases effectiveness and efficiency.

Q: How is the government leveraging AI in defense?

The government is slowly adopting AI in defense, but there are challenges in integrating new technologies. The Defense Innovation Unit and other agencies are driving the adoption of AI, but there is still a need for a shift in thinking and programmatic approaches to fully exploit the potential of AI.

Q: How has the conflict in Ukraine impacted drone technologies?

The conflict in Ukraine has highlighted the importance of addressing communication and signal issues in drone technologies. Constant jamming of radio links and GPS signals by the enemy has limited the effectiveness of many drone systems. This has accelerated the need for innovation and improvement in the field.

Q: What lessons can be learned from the conflict in Ukraine?

One key lesson from the conflict in Ukraine is that drones have become strategically relevant in modern warfare. Even civilian drones have been used by both sides for surveillance and targeting purposes. The conflict has also highlighted the security risks associated with using certain drone technologies, emphasizing the need for caution and choosing reliable and secure drone systems.

Q: How is AI changing the way military assets are used?

AI is enabling military assets to be used more effectively and at a larger scale. It enables faster decision-making, precision, and collaboration between assets. The ability to network systems and leverage AI allows for more efficient and high-volume operations.

Q: How does AI impact the decision-making process in the military?

AI assists in the decision-making process by providing valuable insights and aiding operators in making informed choices. It helps with asset management, intelligence analysis, and real-time situational awareness. AI improves operational efficiency and helps streamline decision-making.

Q: What is the role of AI in autonomy?

AI plays a crucial role in autonomy by enabling intelligent decision-making and action in autonomous systems. It allows autonomous vehicles and drones to operate in complex and contested environments where traditional assets may be compromised. AI enables these systems to maneuver and adapt to changing conditions effectively.


The discussion highlights the growing importance of AI in modern warfare and the potential it holds for the military. The panelists stressed the need for government investment in AI technologies and the challenges of convincing the military to adopt new approaches. The conflict in Ukraine served as a real-world example of the impact of AI and highlighted the risks associated with using certain drone technologies. The panelists emphasized the value of AI in automation, decision-making, and autonomy. Overall, AI is seen as a game-changer in warfare, bringing scalability, precision, and efficiency to military operations.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Adam, the CEO of Skydio, discusses the use of AI-powered drones in various sectors, including consumer videography, infrastructure inspection, public safety, and defense.

  • Brandon, the President of Shield AI, focuses on the importance of AI pilots for intelligent systems in the military and the need for autonomy in contested environments.

  • Brian, the CEO of Anduril, emphasizes the impact of AI on simplifying the lives of operators and enabling large-scale warfare with precision and accountability.

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