The Cyber Effects Of Industry 4.0 On Warfare

We are currently experiencing a new industrial revolution based on Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Biotechnology, IoT, and Cybertronics and this contemporary revolution will merge and combine these innovative technologies.

Each time we go through one of these massive automated revolutions, it completely alters most country’s economics, geo-politics, society and warfare.

  • The First Industrial Revolution used water and steam power to mechanise production. 
  • The Second used electric power to create mass production. 
  • The Third used electronics and information technology to automate production. 
  • Now we have a Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.

We now have mobile AI super-computing which imitates human thought, Intelligent robots, self-driving cars and biotechnology all of which has applications in major industrial areas, including health care, crop production and agriculture.

Each Industrial Revolution has an enormous impact on warfare. 
Part of the outcome of the 1st Industrial Revolution was the creation of railroads and the telegraph and each significantly affected the American Civil War. They allowed the North and South to move men and equipment vast distances to further their own war aims. 

Because of their strategic value to both sides, they also became focal points of each side's war efforts. 
The North and South both engaged in battles with the design to secure different railroad hubs. A decade before the war the telegraph was invented by Samuel Morse in 1844, and telegraph wires soon sprang up all along the East Coast.  During the American Civil War 15,000 miles of telegraph cable was laid purely for military purposes. 

Mobile telegraph changed information reporting time and the officers received communications immediately from just behind the frontline. The North made far more use of the telegraph that the Confederates. Lincoln intensively used the telegraph to get faster and clearer understanding of the conflict and used the information to change his strategy and battle tactics. 
For the first time in the history of warfare, the telegraph helped field commanders to direct real-time battlefield operations and permitted senior military officials to coordinate strategy across large distances. These capabilities were key factors in the North's victory. 

Fifty years later with the advent of the 2nd Industrial Revolution commanders and officers during the early parts of the 1st World War had not strategically and tactically understood the effects of the new technologies on warfare. 
This brought to the battle front breach loading weapons, aircraft or even the effects of the changes from the cavalry’s use of horses to armed vehicles and tanks.

All of which meant the wholesale slaughter of troops if the old methods of military attack were used. 
Total deaths of military and civilian in the 1WW was over 40m.The same intelligence was employed during the Second World War and because of aerial and atomic bombing and the use of new industrialised weapon technology the death toll rose to 80 million.

We are experiencing the beginning of the next Industrial revolution and the effects are already changing geo-politics and military tactics and warfare.

The US is currently cyber-attacking Russia’s power grid as Russia has been attacking the US’s systems. Both are engaged in offensive attacks and often use outside hackers so that they can claim that it has nothing to do with them. This is similar to how pirates were used in the 16/17th century by nations to attack other nations, they were called privateers with a government commission. 

Cyberspace is now seen by senior military officers and officials as another “domain” of warfare, along with air, land, sea, and space but it’s effective purpose is still in debate. 

In this era, the pace of technological development has again surpassed a nation’s ability to govern effectively. We live in a time where security risks emerging from the threat of bio-weapons, nano-weapons, cyber-weapons. Several countries are now developing nano-weapons that can attack using mini-nuclear bombs and insect-like robots.

By Alfred Rolington:

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