A cloud of 3D-printed drones big enough to bring down the latest U.S. stealth fighter, the F35, was just one of the combat scenarios evoked in a discussion of the future of warfare at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday.
Much of the discussion focused on the changes computers are bringing to the battlefield, including artificial intelligence and autonomous systems — but also the way the battlefield is coming to computing, with cyberwar, and social media psyops an ever more real prospect.
Former U.S. Navy fighter pilot Mary Cummings, now director of the Humans and Autonomy Lab at Duke University, delivered the first strike.
“The barrier to entry to drone technology is so low that everyone can have one, and if the Chinese go out and print a million copies of a drone, a very small drone, and put those up against an F35 and they go into the engine, you basically obviate what is a very expensive platform,” she said.
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