The concepts of hybrid threat and hybrid warfare are, presently, key concepts within strategic studies1 and intelligence studies2, with a core relevance in the new defense and security context that was enabled by the twenty-first century's Fourth Industrial Revolution, driven by the synergization of cyberspace and artificial intelligence (AI), fueled by the accelerated and disruptive exponential expansion of machine learning (ML) [1, 2, 3]. Cyber operations, presently, constitute a key determinant component of hybrid strategies and tactics that configure the profile of hybrid threats and hybrid warfare . Hybrid strategies, in the twenty-first century, involve the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and AI tools to combine conventional and unconventional operations, amplifying the impact of these operations [1, 2, 3]. In the current context of hybrid operations, there are, presently, three major dimensions of hybrid strategic power, understood as the ability to achieve one's strategic goals through hybrid operations, and these are: The first type of power is enabled by social networks and the ability to use cyberspace for propaganda, disinformation, and viral campaigns in what constitutes a form of information-based warfare as well as for implementing cyberattacks that can disrupt different sectors as well as stealing (and possibly leaking) of critical data. The second type of power involves the use of AI, in particular ML tools, as support tools for different cyber operations that may, in turn, support hybrid strategies.
Both races are setting the stage for the next dominant world power. While research into AI and quantum technologies is being developed on a worldwide scale, with advances coming from different countries, China and the United States (US) are at the forefront of both races, with these technologies forming important stepping stones for geopolitical power accumulation. Indeed, China is currently playing the game for supremacy on both quantum technologies and AI, trying to surpass the US and become the leading world power (Smith-Goodson, 2019). If China wins the race for quantum supremacy then it will be in a leading geostrategic position, since it will become the major dominant power in the next technological infrastructure, if, along with quantum supremacy, China achieves AI supremacy (both classical and quantum), then it may topple the US, Russia, Europe and Asian geopolitical competition vectors. On the other hand, this race is not restricted to countries, it is a global geostrategic and geoeconomic race that includes cooperative networks involving the academia and the private sectors as well, indeed, the US geostrategic position depends strongly upon the private sector's US-based large technology companies' investment in quantum technologies. Regarding the issue of quantum supremacy, it is relevant to consider Kirkland (2020)'s reflection, quoting: "(…) One thing remains unchanged (…) and that is the glaring reality that those who manage to successfully harness the power of quantum mechanics will have supremacy over the rest of the world. How do you think they will use it?"
Memes and social networks have become weaponized, while many governments seem ill-equipped to understand the new reality of information warfare. How will we fight state-sponsored disinformation and propaganda in the future? In 2011, a university professor with a background in robotics presented an idea that seemed radical at the time. After conducting research backed by DARPA -- the same defense agency that helped spawn the internet -- Dr. Robert Finkelstein proposed the creation of a brand new arm of the US military, a "Meme Control Center." You'll learn about cybersecurity trends to watch and high-momentum startups with the potential to shape the future of security. In internet-speak the word "meme" often refers to an amusing picture that goes viral on social media. More broadly, however, a meme is any idea that spreads, whether that idea is true or false. It is this broader definition of meme that Finklestein had in mind when he proposed the Meme Control Center and his idea of "memetic warfare." From "Tutorial: Military Memetics," by Dr. Robert Finkelstein, presented at Social Media for Defense Summit, 2011 Basically, Dr. Finklestein's Meme Control Center would pump the internet full of "memes" that would benefit the national security of the United States. Finkelstein saw a future in which guns and bombs are replaced by rumor, digital fakery, and social engineering.
Cyberwar: Here's what you need to know. At its core, cyberwarfare is the use of digital attacks by one country or nation to disrupt the computer systems of another with the aim of create significant damage, death or destruction. What does cyberwarfare look like? Cyberwar is still an emerging concept, but many experts are concerned that it is likely to be a significant component of any future conflicts. As well as troops using conventional weapons like guns and missiles, future wars will also be fought by hackers using computer code to attack an enemy's infrastructure. Europe, Canada, USA, Australia, and others are now running training exercises to prepare for the outbreak of cyberwar.
As was also clearly stated by Vladimir Putin on September 4, 2017: "whichever country leads the way in Artificial Intelligence research will be the ruler of the world". According to Thomas Kuhn's old, but still useful, epistemological model, every change of the scientific paradigm – rather than the emergence of new material discoveries – radically changes the visions of the world and hence strategic equilibria. Hence, first of all, what is Artificial Intelligence? It consists of a series of mathematical tools, but also of psychology, electronic technology, information technology and computer science tools, through which a machine is taught to think as if it were a human being, but with the speed and security of a computer. The automatic machine must representman's knowledge, namely show it, thus enabling an external operator to change the process and understand its results within the natural language. In practice, AI machines imitate the perceptual vision, the recognition and the reprocessing of language -and even of decision-making – but only when all the data necessary to perform it are available.