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  • Writer's pictureMariah Nimmons

Are Emerging Technologies Changing Warfare?

A NOTE: Our Russia-Ukraine Resources are updated weekly - if you're accessing the page a week or more past the below date, pieces mentioned in this post may have been removed to make room for up-to-date resources.


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Updated Resources - September 20, 2023



KEY DEVELOPMENTS

  • Kyiv Independent: Newsfeed

  • Novaya Gazeta Europe: Newsfeed

  • The Insider: Newsfeed

 

The THeMIS UGV 5th generation. (Milrem Robotics, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)


WHAT'S ON OUR MIND


In the aura of the United Nations General Assembly meeting this week we explore a new facet of warring. Long after bronze supplanted stone in the weapons of early man, our desire for technological superiority in warfare has only grown more insatiable. In the modern day, many experts believe - though some disagree - that warfare is on its way to transcending person to person conflict, moving instead to the domains of artificial intelligence (AI), cybersecurity, and robotics. The advancements are numerous and complex; so too are the opportunities for increased international cooperation and diplomacy and the bolstering of existing alliances. In today’s collection, we explore the intersection of emerging technologies, geopolitics, and the war in Ukraine.


Cold War alliances echo in a piece from The Intercept relaying how one Russian military officer’s hacked email account reveals the apparent recruitment of at least 100 Cuban citizens to serve in the ‘special military operation.’ Meduza reports on the hijacking and spyware infection of co-founder Galina Timchenko’s mobile phone using Pegasus, a powerful spyware marketed as a tool to combat crime and terrorism that is also used to surveil suspected dissidents. The Insider delves into Killnet, a hacker collective that deems itself ‘Russia's cyber army.’


Following Kim Jong-Un’s recent face-to-face with Putin, a piece from The Conversation highlights the potential for technology transfers and digital/cyber alliance between Russia, North Korea, and China. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists introduces the emerging field of ‘cyber diplomacy,’ distinct from cybersecurity in its goal to promote norms for responsible state approaches to cyberspace. Offering an example of this, Foreign Policy touches on how emerging technologies and interdependencies have broadened NATO’s scope, ultimately contributing to a more ‘coherent alliance’.


Wired Magazine examines two studies exploring the ramifications of generative AI - which produces text, imagery, audio, and synthetic data (i.e. ChatGPT) - for the scale and potency of online disinformation campaigns. In the world of nuclear proliferation, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists assesses the potential for AI within nuclear material production, a crucial phase of nuclear weapons development. And Foreign Affairs offers a discussion that suggests AI will transform the very nature of power and its balance between states and the firms developing it. They highlight the urgency with which global policymakers must catch up to the rapidly evolving technology.


Finally we offer perspectives that expand and interrogate existing discussions of emerging technologies. The Bulletin invites readers to question whether humans are more dangerous than the current threats attributed to AI. Foreign Affairs suggests that despite early predictions, warfare in Ukraine remains largely un-transformed by new technology. As if in answer, The Kyiv Independent highlights the life saving potential of robotics on the battlefield and the Ukrainian startups that emerged from war’s shadow.


In the overview, parallels between the 1920 Russian invasion of Poland and Putin’s Ukraine rhetoric. In videos, an interview with USAID administrator Samantha Power discussing solutions for Russia’s war in Ukraine and more. Find also a discussion with Peter Zwack, Former U.S. Army Brigadier General and current Global Fellow with the Wilson Institute, on the Ukrainian counteroffensive, mood among the nation’s people and leadership, and diplomacy and aid with the West.


In the arts, a poignant short film created by Ukraine’s adolescent victims presents the power of catharsis and community built through shared trauma, the app seeking to preserve historical Ukrainian contributions to classical music and platform contemporary works, and one of the founding fathers of Russian rock music releases a new album from exile blending sorrow and hope.


Find these stories and more in today’s resource update.

 




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