Student Perspective | Future War

Maj. Gen. Dr. Robert Latiff (Ret.) talking about the future of ethical warfare at the event on August 29.
Maj. Gen. Dr. Robert Latiff (Ret.) talks about the future of ethical warfare.

The SMU Tower Center hosted Major General Robert Latiff Aug. 29 to talk about his new book “Future War: Preparing for the New Global Battlefield” and the new era of global politics and conflict. Read our Student Perspective on the program.

By Onur Kolcak, doctoral candidate, SMU

Dr. Latiff challenged the audience to think about and question their understanding of war. The relationship between technology and war is an important phenomenon that can no longer be ignored. For instance,  the public is disconnected from the casualties of war since most actions taken do not need human force anymore. Drones, intelligent weapons, and similar technologies have taken over the “human fighter” aspect of conflicts. According to Dr. Latiff, it is very likely that in the near future, artificial intelligence and robotic soldiers will be taking over direct-conflict responsibilities on the battlefield.

Therefore, we must ask the question: How does this progress change our understanding of war? Humanity as whole has already begun to see casualties of war as little more than figures and statistics on a page. How does ever-improving technology affect the ethics and morality of war? These were some of the profound questions Dr. Latiff’s talk challenged audiences to answer.

Not only are the forces fighting the battles changing, but war itself is changing its shape too. We have now entered an era where data, telecommunication and the infrastructure of information technology has gained more importance than conventional weapons. In the era of cyberwar, a country with a strong military power can still be vulnerable. To be secure, a country needs sufficient technology and the capacity to protect its data and power grid from interference, as well as protect itself from other types of cyber warfare methods such as hacking and DoS (denial of service attacks.)

The effects of technology on our daily life is inevitable. With technology now being used to interfere in global politics, what will be the next step?

For more: Read Dr. Latiff’s policy brief from our Visiting Scholars series.