12 Dec 2019

AI and Machine Learning in Defence

DCI specialises in defence, security and civil opportunities across the entire supply chain, both in the UK and internationally. The expertise of DCI in defence procurement has been used to help some of the world’s biggest brands discover their true potential in supplying to defence and security buyers. Our latest report, ‘Encouraging and Engaging with Innovation in Defence’ showcases this, with extensive analysis of the opportunities for and threats to the UK’s security and prosperity arising from advances in technology, and the role of innovation at the heart of maintaining the UK’s military advantage. We summarise the key discussion around the theme of machine learning and how it is positively impacting the future of the defence and security industry.

The crucial role of machine learning

Machine learning is an instrumental tool that prevents cyber threats and controls enormous volumes of data by programming a machine to react, and make decisions, without explicitly being told to do so. Machine learning is invisible, yet it is around us everywhere, every day, embedded within modern technology including mobile phones, computers and tablet devices – it even plays a part in the way consumers shop online. Algorithms are continually being developed to track what people look at as they surf the internet and the way they do it. It is through algorithms that machine systems can offer tailored, personal options based on your online activity. Not only can this make for a better user experience online but it can also make people’s lives easier and simpler. Machine learning is increasingly becoming an integral part of our lives, and its powerful impact on cyber security cannot be overstated.

However, machine learning doesn’t only influence online shopping and how we search the internet. Machine learning is a subset of artificial intelligence and can help prevent cyber security attacks when used correctly. For example, in passport control in airports, machine learning systems crosscheck somebody’s physical ID and passport against databases holding massive volumes of data in a few seconds by a face-scanner. Machine learning is purposefully built to be able to constantly process data far beyond the capability of humans to manage, efficiently and effectively, and often without fault, for the immediate safety of humankind.

Professor Trevor Taylor from RUSI stresses the importance of data to improve artificial intelligence, by using machine learning. In the ‘Encouraging and Engaging with Innovation in Defence’ report, he said:

“Think about Artificial Intelligence in terms of tasks and always of data availability. Do we have the data? If the data isn’t available then AI doesn’t work – that’s a fundamental thing for everyone to remember.”

Machine learning and cyber security

With organisations using old systems which are often incapable of identifying malicious malware, the need to help network administrators to recognise and respond to attacks has become clearer than ever, and action is finally happening through machine learning. Technological advances have enabled machine learning to be involved across the defence sector and beyond, from huge security projects to controlling our central heating. Machine learning allows programs to learn without regular human interaction and is not restricted by human labour or error, plus it can react when confronted with new information.

For a relatively recent development, machine learning is making a positive impact on the defence and security industry, because it has been at the forefront not only of processing and protecting large volumes of data for cyber security purposes, but also has provided a way for increasing volumes of data to help people live safer and easier lives. Machine learning is a great news for the future of defence and security procurement, because it can be implemented into defence and security projects in innovative ways, to provide more environmentally conscious procurement processes and information that is more readily accessible.

Discover the latest trends impacting defence and security

DCI’s expertise can help you increase your chances of winning tenders in the defence and security sector, by helping you to stay on top of key developments that are transforming the industry, such as the positive impact of machine learning.

Read the full report on ‘Encouraging and Engaging with Innovation in Defence’ now.