What is better integration? More integration may not be the simple answer for militaries like the US and UK.
The Integrated Review, Multi-Domain Integration, The Integrated Operating Concept, Multi-Domain Battle,, the list goes on. These concepts define US and UK ideas of how to fight and win in the future, and they all have a common underpinning premise: integrate better. But what is ‘better’ integration? Counter-intuitively to many, better integration is not as simple as more integration. ‘Better’ integration doesn’t just enable efficient communications, it enables systemic learning and memory, collective intelligence, speed of response, and effective adaption. Increased integration, but done badly, induces blindness, slower responses, bloat, and systemic stupidity. In an era where how data flows across a military system is going to matter more, what are the lessons from DeepMind’s research, paper plates, cats, the P-38 Lightning, the biggest theoretical artificial intelligence, the disaster that is the human eyeball, and even how you are sitting in that chair.
Lieutenant Colonel Al Brown is a Visiting Research Fellow at Oxford. In addition to all the things one might expect in a twenty-year military career in the post-9/11 era, Al was previously the lead for Defence on the study of global trends in robotics and artificial intelligence and their impacts on conflict. He has been one of the group of government experts providing advice to and speaking at the United Nations, and an occasional guest lecturer at various universities, the Royal United Services Institute, and the Alan Turing Institute.