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As the world becomes more complex and dangerous, the UK must build resilience through technology

As the world becomes more complex and dangerous, the UK must build resilience through technology

Improbable say that technology is the key to properly tackling threats to the UK | Credit: Improbable

Joe Robinson, CEO, Improbable's defence business

Joe Robinson, CEO, Improbable's defence business | Improbable

3 min read Partner content

Now more than ever, it is essential that the UK puts technology at the forefront of its national security strategy.

In an increasingly dangerous world, it’s vital that we make society more resilient. We need a nation able to recover quickly from future shocks. This matters because resilient societies are safer. Global adversaries are much less likely to attack or antagonise a resilient society as interference is much less likely to succeed.

To build resiliency, those in power must be able to not just anticipate shocks, but also properly model them. They must plan and re-plan with agility and react effectively to rapidly developing events. The current pandemic has shown how plans must be constantly reassessed based on new facts on the ground, such as new variants, and new models.

Looking to the future, how can decision makers across government and national security possibly keep up with a world that is increasingly complex, fluid and interconnected? From misinformation to biosecurity to climate change, there are a myriad of threats that will all impact one another.

An important part of the solution is to invest in cutting edge technology able to understand the world around us and make predictions many times faster than the human brain. Much of this sounds like science fiction, but the technology exists today and much of it is being developed in the UK.

This is where synthetic environments come in. These are realistic virtual worlds that simulate the complicated world that we operate in. With a digital double of an environment - a city, or even a country, it becomes possible to test different scenarios and see what happens, providing insight into the many burning “What If…” questions that policymakers face.

Compared with building and running massive live training and planning exercises, training inside synthetic environments also reduces costs and is better for the environment. Wargaming operations and training can be moved into the virtual world, allowing for more training to be carried out more frequently, and without repeatedly paying both in terms of money and carbon emissions of moving people and material.

Investment in this growing technology sector is important to keep us safe by developing the tools needed to address a more dangerous world.

Finally, synthetic environments can provide a platform for artificial intelligence, able to game out the best responses to complicated threats from global adversaries. In ongoing global conflicts, military leadership and government decision makers will be assisted by AI, which takes on the heavy lifting of running millions of calculations.

The UK remains a world leader in technology, and we should also see the success of this new technology as a national security priority. Investment in this growing technology sector is important to keep us safe by developing the tools needed to address a more dangerous world. It’s vital that the UK continues to put technology first when it comes to national security. This will ultimately allow existing resources to be used in more efficient and successful ways, ensuring national security today and for the threats of tomorrow.

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