The rise of complex autonomous systems: current challenges for national security policymakers

Held Friday 18 to Sunday 20 May on ANU’s Kioloa Coastal Campus, the Institute for Regional Security (“IFRS”) Future Strategic Leaders’ Congress explored the rise of complex autonomous systems: current challenges for national security policymakers in a retreat style environment.

Consisting of seminars, hypotheticals, and workshops the congress went “deep behind the scenes of the strategic affairs that affect our region with the national leaders who are currently navigating them” (IFRS).

The engaging seminars from industry professionals captured the complex challenges security policymakers face with the rise of autonomous systems. In particular, Noetic’s Mark Collins investigated the capability edge inherent in using autonomous systems. The fundamental moral and ethical considerations of non-humans taking on security roles provided plenty of rigorous debate in syndicate workshops which Mark participated in. He also had the opportunity explore these issues further, engage with fellow industry colleagues and provide analysis in a presentation format.

“… autonomous systems are on the cusp of development as we wait for the convergence of machine learning, data analytics and artificial intelligence. When that occurs, we will truly have autonomous systems. The race to achieve this has significant ramifications for international relations as these technologies will undoubtedly apply to defence and national security systems…”
Mark also said he was “personally inspired by the engagement and professionalism from fellow young leaders representing the future of the industry” and found value in the networking element of the congress.

Noetic has a pedigree of work in the realm of Autonomous systems. Our work in the US, with the Department of Defence on NEXTECH set the baseline and led to the engagement with Defence Science and Technology Group on the Emerging and Disruptive Technologies Assessment Symposium series (EDTAS).

The Autonomous Systems EDTAS took place in 2015, and much like the IFRS Congress, brought together experts and disruptive thinkers science, industry, academia and Defence technology. The tangible outcomes of this event are still being realised, with the first Defence Research Cooperative Research Centre launching just yesterday. See here for more detail

Noetic is a sponsor of the Future Strategic Leaders Program, and is proud to support the Congress and provide professional development and learning opportunities to our own upcoming graduates.