"Military planning is a complicated endeavour, calling upon experts in
logistics and infrastructure to predict resource availability and technological
advancements. Long-range military planning, deciding what to invest in now to
prepare armed forces for the world in thirty years’ time, is even more
One of the most interesting tools for thinking about future defence technology
isn’t big data forecasting and the use of synthetic training environments, but
narrative and imagination. And we get this from science fiction.
That might sound fanciful, but many militaries are already engaging with the
genre. The US military and the French army use science fiction writers to
generate future threat scenarios. The Australian Defence College advocates for
the reading of science fiction and, in Germany, Project Cassandra uses novels
to predict the world’s next conflict. The Sigma Forum, a science fiction think
tank, has been offering forecasting services to US officials for years.
But while science fiction provides military planners with a tantalising glimpse
of future weaponry, from exoskeletons to mind-machine interfaces, the genre is
always about more than flashy new gadgets. It’s about anticipating the
unforeseen ways in which these technologies could affect humans and society –
and this extra context is often overlooked by the officials deciding which
technologies to invest in for future conflicts."
Via Esther Schindler.
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics