The intelligence revolution is coming!

From ancient times to the present, people have always unavoidably monitored each other. In order to clarify the intentions and behaviors of others, people use tools to monitor and monitor, but no matter how the tools evolve, they have not been able to replace manpower. Artificial intelligence and autonomous systems will change all of this. In future intelligence work, machines can monitor each other to detect each other’s actions or plans. Intelligence work still focuses on stealing and protecting secrets, but the methods of collecting, analyzing, and disseminating intelligence will undergo fundamental changes.

Some military futurists regard the equipment innovation led by artificial intelligence and autonomous systems as a “military revolution.” Similarly, thanks to artificial intelligence and autonomous systems, the “intelligence revolution” is also being staged. The machine is no longer a simple tool for collecting and analyzing information, but will evolve into intelligence users and decision makers, and even become the target of enemy strikes. Although the ultimate goal of machines is still inseparable from the political, social, economic, and military relations of human beings, in terms of speed, scale and complexity, machine-driven intelligence work will run better than human-driven intelligence. In short, the trend of the intelligence revolution has emerged globally. The intelligence community must prepare for a future dominated by artificial intelligence, otherwise it may lose its competitive advantage.

|”New Intelligence Era”|
The change did not happen unexpectedly. The origin of the intelligence revolution can be traced back to the last century. New technologies such as radio communications and computers have made espionage more sophisticated. In the past, intelligence personnel used their eyes to monitor, ears to monitor, and rational thinking to analyze and predict. Now, they are still the main body of intelligence work, but powerful sensing technology and computing tools make them even more powerful.

In the past 20 years, the effective data available to intelligence agencies has grown exponentially. Multi-level and commercial sensors are used in a wide range, from network robots to unmanned aerial vehicles to small satellites. They can be seen, and the resulting information is far beyond the scope of human cognition. In 2017, the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency predicted that within five years, the data that their analysts need to analyze will increase by 1 million times. The emergence of so much data at such a rapid rate has intensified the intelligence competition, which in turn has made big data, artificial intelligence and autonomous systems more and more useful. Which country can quickly process huge and complex data, which country has a competitive advantage that other countries cannot match.

At present, the U.S. military has more than 11,000 unmanned aerial systems, and many more underwater, space, and land unmanned systems. In addition, the US cyber security department has to deal with millions of cyber robots and billions of IoT devices that act as sensors around the world. Without the support of artificial intelligence, autonomous systems cannot operate, which means that over time, autonomous systems will become the main consumers of smart tools.

When machines are used to monitor and deceive each other, the revolution brought about by autonomous systems is even more disruptive. It is very likely that in the future, the artificial intelligence system can analyze specific issues, such as whether the opponent is ready to launch a war. At this time, the other party’s intelligent system may intentionally input data to our system in order to interfere with our analysis. Furthermore, we may be aware of the other party’s tricks, but still pretend to be unaware, so as to achieve the purpose of reverse deception. This kind of reverse deception has always been one of the contents of intelligence work, but this kind of situation will appear in fully autonomous systems in the future. In such a closed information loop, espionage and counter-spyware can happen without human interference.

In order to understand the importance of artificial intelligence and autonomous systems, we might as well seek answers from the financial world. The high-speed quantitative trading system relies on a series of algorithms that can keenly perceive changes in the global stock market, make analysis and predictions with the help of a large amount of data, and can automatically complete transactions in microseconds. The human brain cannot operate at this speed and scale in any field. In order to keep up with the competition, even the most conservative investment companies will increasingly rely on quantitative trading systems. Similarly, in order to stay behind in the intelligence field, intelligence agencies will rely more on artificial intelligence and autonomous systems.

| Iterative upgrade of the intelligence community |
In view of the fact that machines are becoming the main collectors, analysts, consumers, and targets of intelligence, the intelligence community must also iteratively upgrade in due course. It is not only necessary to make large-scale investments in artificial intelligence and autonomous technology, but also to re-understand the operating system that can process large amounts of data at the same time and direct the results of the data directly to the machine. The network generates various forms of electromagnetic signals and data, and when the things around us are connected through the network, signal intelligence especially should be developed in the direction of intelligence. The same is true for geospatial intelligence. With the vigorous development of satellites and sensors, everything that happens on the earth will soon be visible from the sky at any time.

In the current American intelligence community, intelligence agencies are divided according to their functions, so different types of intelligence information, such as signal intelligence and geospatial intelligence, are collected and analyzed by different agencies. The intelligence revolution may allow the intelligence community to re-examine whether this division is reasonable. Electromagnetic information is electromagnetic information, whether it is produced by satellites or IoT devices. When humans no longer pay attention to raw data, and artificial intelligence can quickly identify different data, distinguishing data sources will become less important. The boundary between civilian and military intelligence will similarly collapse, and civilian infrastructure such as telecommunications and communication facilities will be as valuable to military targets as military communication systems. Therefore, the division of functions of the intelligence department is likely to hinder rather than help intelligence work.

U.S. National Guard soldiers in training

Intelligence work may also need new organizations to maintain. If people were once one of the basis for dividing intelligence agencies, now they are dominated by machines-such as software systems, sensors, and drones. Intelligence work is increasingly dependent on these machines, which means that it is not only the machines themselves that are monitored, but also the designers, developers, and supply chains behind them. In the near future, artificial intelligence, autonomous technology, venture capital and supply chain will play a vital role. The U.S. government should develop new organizations to specialize in the above-mentioned areas, and at least expand the existing economic and scientific and technological intelligence agencies, just like the expansion of the anti-terrorism agencies after the 9/11 incident.

While embracing change, the United States should also find ways to reduce the opponent’s ability to change, especially to slow down or prevent the opponent from developing machine-driven intelligence capabilities. This requires covert operations, and the machine can complete part of the task. For example, the United States can input false data into the other party’s learning system to confuse or interfere with the other party’s intelligent system.

However, when the United States targets the artificial intelligence and autonomous systems of the opponent country, the other side will also use the same method against the United States. Therefore, the United States must establish a new defense system and embrace new forms of counter-espionage methods. In order to catch up with opponents, counterintelligence officials must not only continue past deception methods, but also have more economic and technological expertise than before. In short, the intelligence revolution will catalyze changes at all levels, including research institutions, personnel training, technological innovation, and counterintelligence.

| Intelligence personnel walk with the revolution |
Intelligence collection and analysis may no longer belong to or dominated by humans, but the ultimate goal of intelligence work is still to understand the human-dominated government, society, and military. Humans can also bring creativity, empathy, understanding, and strategic thinking to intelligence work that machines can’t match. Therefore, department heads, case managers, and analysts will still play very important roles in the future, although the nature of their work may change.

The intelligence revolution is evolving, and the refusal to change will bring huge disasters to a country’s government. Before World War II, the US Navy refused to replace battleships with aircraft carriers. At that time, the U.S. Navy lacked advanced air power, and the Japanese used this to launch a devastating attack on Pearl Harbor. People are the protagonists of intelligence work, but they may sometimes fail to understand or accept the unstoppable intelligence revolution. Intelligence agencies should break cultural barriers, and while increasing investment in scientific research, ensure that intelligence personnel adapt to the new changes brought about by artificial intelligence and autonomous systems.