By Col Rajinder Singh (Retd)
Technology, both disruptive and growth-oriented, has opened up new horizons for mankind to conquer. Destruction and construction both go simultaneously alongside each. Technology, thus, not only proposes to create new frontiers but it disposes them, too. Humanity, it seems, is at the cusp of another “Big Bang”. Future wars are not only going to be technology driven, but they will be “Non Contact” wars, fought by “Smart Soldiers” with “Smart Weapons” of BVR (Beyond Visual Range) nature. Drones, missiles, EMP & Laser guns, as well as Bioweapons are changing the whole concept of war-making. There is a paradigm shift from physical force of humans to ruthless force of mind.
“Swarm” technology, with deadly lethality, extensive ranges and computerised accuracy, would go for an all out kill of “Concentrated forces”. Nano-technology will produce weapons of the kind of “Bumblebees” — very, very difficult to detect but with a potential of massive destruction.
Therefore, dud weapons or equipment systems such as manned aircraft, tanks, guns and infantry would lose their relevance in future wars. They will be sitting ducks. AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Cyber warfare would be the force multipliers of future belligerents.
Also, note that there would be no more Monkey Dancing of soldiers across the borders. Armour and Infantry, hitherto known as ‘King and Queen’ of battle would lose their relevance. White-collared soldiers, sitting thousands of miles away from the battle zone would rule the roost.
Infantry would only supplement internal security force and may be in a static role on the borders. However, radars and Unattended Ground Sensors (UGS), supported by BVR weapons systems, can perform this role better. Your “eyes in the sky” would further deprive infantry & armour this privilege of being sentinels of the border. There would be no more urgency to rush additional forces as happened in the case of the Chinese offensive in Eastern Ladakh during 2020.
Borders would be made impenetrable by adversaries. Wars will, thus, be designed to soften up one’s adversary by BVR systems before delivering the final blow as a surgical strike.
Finally, Land wars will be replaced by wars in the “space and seas”. Territorial gains would no longer be considered a political purpose of war. It would be total annihilation of one’s adversary.
Indian think tanks have to gear up towards this new concept of Designer Wars. The flab must be cut down to concentrate on LAMA (Lean and Mean Army) to engage the enemy in a “Non-Contact duel”, where BVR or smart weapon system would play an important role.
While wars and military conflicts are reshaping themselves, so is the concept of mankind’s progress in different domains. Man’s foray into space is gaining momentum — of course driven by cutting-edge and a new technology. Time is not far when wars may extend into outer space. The latest mission to Mars by NASA has added a new dimension to human reach beyond the earth.
With the mission to Mars, the race for “colonisation of space” will begin. This might become a new cause of human conflict and a new version of “Lebensraum” (Living Space or additional territory).
And looking some 150-200 years beyond the present times, into the 23rd Century, I find exciting new prospects for humanity — if it does not destroy itself by the use of WMD (weapons of mass destruction) such as viruses like Covid -19 or even “Anti-Matter” (10 grams are adequate to obliterate life from the earth’s surface).
Let me emphasise here that keeping with the growing community of ‘Continent Hopping’ citizens of today, mankind has the potential of upgrading to ‘Galaxy Hopping’ in the next 150 years.
Why do I say this? Have I found an answer to Stephen Hawking’s quest for “Unified Theory” or the “Theory of Everything”? Or, is it that I am on a war-path with Francis Fukuyama’s postulation of “End of History”? No, it is nothing of the sort. I am only putting two and two together to work out a shape of things to come. No, I do not claim to be a futurologist. I am only taking a holistic view of the innovations and technological advances and then working out a synthesised model of Future Human Beings who will re-enact the feats of mythological characters of Vedic tales — which talk of sages like Narada or other celestial beings who could move across the ‘Tri Lok’ (Three Worlds) in the blink of an eye. They could come and go at will. We are moving towards this. How is this possible?
Let me first recount the technological advances that have set the ball rolling:
Nixon Bostorm, director of the ‘Future of Humanity’ project at Oxford University says that by 2030 AD we could have “Virtual Brains” like the ones you saw in the movie ‘The Matrix’. These virtual brains could simulate their bodies and move around anywhere. In fact he goes on to add that there is a 20 percent chance that ours was a simulated world and it could go off like the computer screen as you log out. In such a “Virtual World” we will have “Virtual Brains” roaming the Cosmic Space at will.
RECYCLING HUMAN LIFE
The Human DNA has been mapped. This could lead to the Robotisation of human beings. Now if you please, if you want to recycle your life you can digitalise yourself. (Kindly read my post, “Digitalising Human Beings” posted on Sulekha Blogs in September 2007). We can produce robotised clones and re-enact our entire life or we can make our self Space Travellers by sending our animated clones into space to various galaxies. Once they return, the “Original You” might not be there but they can re-enact your life with stored digitised data in your Digitalised Life File and also make corrections wherever required. Of course, there are moral questions. But let us first conquer the final frontiers of human anatomy and space mysteries. Let us seek its synthesis with the virtual world.
NASA is currently working on a project on Space Elevators, which they say is likely to be ready by the year 2100 AD. It is said that the elevators would be like a lift and go up to 100,000 km into space. The elevator would comprise a cable whose one end could be anchored to a floating ramp in an ocean and the space end would be attached to an orbiting satellite. The elevator is meant for the use of space travellers for moving from one space station to another. This is the preliminary step towards large-scale space travel. It is said this would facilitate space tourism, space hotels and space factories. Efforts are also being made to harness Space Energy — which will come from undiffused sunlight. Emphasis is now on the concept of producing reusable space vehicles. There are teething problems here but work is on to find answers
LIFE ON OTHER PLANETS WITHIN AND OUTSIDE OUR GALAXY
Scientists have found planets in other galaxies, which could have earth-like atmosphere and support life. So far five such planets have been identified. Besides, in our own solar system, Mars seems to be the ideal candidate that could fulfil the criterion for a life supporting planet. NASA is planning a one-way mission of one hundred humans in the next 5-6 years to colonise Mars. Traces of water have been found on Mars by NASA’s Mars orbiter. In some quarters, there is speculation that life might have existed in some form on Mars in the distant past. A loud thought hints that life on earth might have come from Mars. So, the question: Has life been hopping from one planet to another? Does the creator of life destroy it when it reaches the peak of its technological advancement and attempts to reach God itself?
Now compare these technological advances in Genetic Engineering, NanoTechnology and Space Research with innovations and inventions in Life Sciences and you will get a synergic view of the future. Think of advances in Psychiatry and Neurology. In fact, Past Life Regression Therapy (PLRT) is becoming very popular in curing psychic maladjustment of individuals. Just think beyond this and you will land up justifying the Theory of Rebirth and the Karmic Cycle. In fact, the ID (Intelligent Design) Theory of the beginning of this universe, as opposed to the Big Bang Theory, has almost acknowledged this. Maybe the Simulated World theory of Nixon Bostorm might authenticate the Karmic Theory and Cyclical Nature of time. I am not on this subject but I have highlighted this only to suggest that “Man might have a tryst with God in the distant future”.
What is going to be this Tryst with God? I do not know. But the dangers are there that man might destroy himself and this universe before his final meeting with God. Is this going to be the way man wants to meet his creator?
Is it his final Tryst? After all, we might be the Simulated World. Bostorm says there was a 20 percent probability that it was so. Are we heading for our final destination? Think—and think hard.
–An ex-NDA and Wellington Staff College graduate, the contributor is a renowned author and security analyst, and has authored four books. His best-selling books are Kashmir – A Different Perspective and The ULFA Insurgency. The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Raksha Anirveda