The Bottom Line: 5 Ways Technology Has Changed the World
Cyberspace already is the new battlefield. Is the military ready?
Nearly everyone has heard a parent or grandparent refer to the good ol’ days. Tales usually begin either with “When I was your age…” or “In my day, we didn’t have….” While it seems appropriate that octogenarians and nonagenarians tell such stories, today they’re not the only generations sharing memories that begin with, “When I was young….” People in their 20s and 30s reflect on their youth wistfully because members of the younger generation—who, by the way, are only five or 10 years younger than they are—can communicate, play, buy and sell, and share life moments in ways that surprise even 20-somethings.
Not that many years ago, as technological advances began snowballing, companies understood that if they didn’t change, they would succumb to the fate of buggy whip makers. For example, camera and film companies understood that when digital photography became affordable, the demand for their products would decrease, then disappear. Think Kodak.
Technology isn’t done transforming the world’s landscape. And so, a bit of reflection on five aspects of life in 2015 that may not exist as soon as 2020:
- Telephone booths. Already on the endangered list, these oddities used to be on every city block. Today? Not so much.
- Shopping malls. Each year, the number of consumers who spend Black Friday at their computers instead of in brick-and-mortar stores increases. Enjoy window-shopping while there’s still time.
- Health care office visits. Grandparents reminisce about doctors making house calls. Will their grandchildren remember doctors’ office visits with the same fondness?
- Manufacturing plants. Robots already have replaced humans on many assembly lines; however, a handful of humans are still needed to ensure the machinery runs smoothly. Artificial intelligence developments will change this landscape as machinery can fix itself. Future work force: Pay attention. Prepare.
- Military battlegrounds. Drones and robots are only the beginning. Nearly indestructible automatons controlled from thousands of miles away will replace warfighters. The stakes will change. Into what, it’s hard to tell.
The bottom line is that today’s military must prepare now to ensure that its strategies and tactics don’t go the way of the buggy whip while our adversaries are taking advantage of how technology has already changed battlefields. Battles in cyberspace threaten our emerging way of life, and it won’t be long before they endanger lives. Are we prepared? If cybersecurity isn’t the highest priority for the nation’s leaders, military and every citizen, we’re not.
What would you add to the list? How should the military prepare for cyber warfare?