United States Secretary of Defense James Mattis recently said of artificial intelligence: "I'm certainly questioning my original premise that the fundamental nature of war will not change. You've got to question that now. I just don’t have the answers yet." Vladimir Putin stated: "Artificial intelligence is the future, not only for Russia, but for all humankind. Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world."
Robotics and artificial intelligence are already being employed in conflict. However, artificial intelligence manages to sit at the peak of 'inflated expectations' on Gartner's technology hype curve whilst simultaneously being underestimated in other assessments. So how can we assess something that seems to be simultaneously better and worse than we expect? What are the likely effects on conflict of the trends in artificial intelligence, robotics, economics, data and society? And what do people commonly get wrong - often with total certainty? How do we maximise the advantages of humans and machines in a military context?