July 20, 2023

Roles and Implications of AI in the Russian-Ukrainian Conflict

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is emerging as a significant asset in the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian conflict. Specifically, it has become a key data analysis tool that helps operators and warfighters make sense of the growing volume and amount of information generated by numerous systems, weapons and soldiers in the field. As AI use continues to evolve, its application on the current Ukrainian and future battlefields will translate into more precise and capable responses to adversary forces, movements and actions. Ukraine’s application of this technology in combat is made possible by both government and private sector efforts. On balance, Ukraine seems to be gaining more from using this technology, although it’s too early to predict whether such a technological edge will translate into significant gains against entrenched Russian positions. So far, Ukraine has managed to maintain a human-centric approach toward AI use, with operators making the final decisions. In my view, Ukraine’s Western partners are embracing that approach, but their militaries still need to agree on how to use AI after its debut in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.

An absolutely crucial aspect of this war is the rapid evolution of combat technologies and the adaptation of key tactics and concepts by both sides.

In this war, Ukraine has benefited from allies and partners offering their artificial intelligence technologies and concepts, which are used in several key roles. This use is publicly discussed in global media, highlighting the Ukrainian government’s willingness and ability to adopt cutting edge practices to gain an advantage over Russian forces. A major aspect of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent war that passed the 500 day mark is the vast amount of data that is generated by different sources, in volumes far greater than humans are able to analyze quickly and accurately. Artificial Intelligence is therefore used for data analysis to aid Ukrainian decision-making. A key role of AI in Ukraine’s service is the integration of target and object recognition with satellite imagery, prompting Western commentators to note that Ukraine has an edge in geospatial intelligence. AI is used to geolocate and analyze open-source data such as social media content to identify Russian soldiers, weapons, systems, units or their movements. According to public sources, neural networks are used to combine ground-level photos, video footage from numerous drones and UAVs, and satellite imagery to provide faster intelligence analysis and assessment to produce strategic and tactical intelligence advantages.

Read the full article from Russia Matters.

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