Military Embedded Systems

GUEST BLOG -- The metaverse, AI, and space defense: Emerging tech transforming 2024


March 12, 2024

Pete Morrison

Bohemia Interactive Simulations

GUEST BLOG -- The metaverse, AI, and space defense: Emerging tech transforming 2024

As we settle into 2024, emerging technologies continue to transform how we experience the digital world and beyond. The metaverse promises more immersive and interactive virtual environments through innovations in augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and generative artificial intelligence (AI). At the same time, AI and machine learning (ML) are proving invaluable in enhancing military operations and national security priorities like space defense.

The metaverse is expanding thanks to AR, VR and AI’s abilities to rapidly generate more accurate 3D environments. AI offers immense potential for the military to process data, inform decision-making, and increase productivity and effectiveness across missions. Moreover, with rival nations ramping up their space programs, space defense remains crucial for the U.S. Substantial investments aim to secure America’s space infrastructure and develop new defensive space capabilities. How will the metaverse, AI, and space technologies unfold in the near future.

The metaverse is growing

The internet is constantly evolving, which has contributed to a greater emphasis on immersive experiences. Users expect and will keep seeking new ways to interact with each other more deeply. In 2024, we can look to generative AI to help create those immersive experiences more quickly, reducing the time it takes to create and build 3D environments. Headsets are still evolving, as are other devices like haptic gloves. When partnered, AR and VR have the potential to engage people’s senses even more. We’ll see a trend where immersive technologies merge to create blended, mixed-reality environments that blur the lines between what’s real and what’s digital.

AI: The potential to give soldiers the advantage

In 2024, the U.S. Army will continue exploring the best application of AI systems, including LLMs [large language models], for military applications. The military has long recognized this technology’s value in helping troops respond and pivot more quickly to rapidly evolving environments and situations. One area where AI and ML can drive productivity is in giving the Army an information advantage, generating insights to inform better decision-making, protecting sensitive information and troops, educating and influencing audiences domestically and abroad, and conducting information warfare.

AI has the computing power to facilitate analyzing vast amounts of data, helping soldiers get the information they need at the right time, and sending it to the right people. Ultimately, AI and ML will help personnel increase the effectiveness of current and developing capabilities. The Army still has work to do in learning how to use data – like predictive logistics – most efficiently. And we may see AI used for recruitment and talent management. What we won’t see in 2024, or any time in the future, is a complete dependence on AI: While AI is a useful tool, making decisions based on AI-driven data will always fall to humans. You simply cannot remove them from the equation.

The future in space

When testifying at the House Armed Services Strategic Forces subcommittee hearing on national security space activities, John F. Plumb, assistant secretary of defense for space policy, said, “For the DoD, space is essential to how we compete and fight in every domain. It provides us with a missile warning and missile tracking critical to defending our homeland …” This year’s nearly $34 billion space budget moves us in the direction of developing capabilities to meet any challenge.

How that looks exactly, however, remains to be seen. The U.S. armed forces and its allies will need a secure space infrastructure, which the U.S. Space Force will be tasked with providing. In 2024, expect further development of the mesh network of low-Earth-orbit satellites used to communicate data and identify, track, and warn of incoming missiles. We’ll see additional training requirements for the personnel needed in every aspect of these space campaigns. Some of the most effective training delivery methods include VR and AR training – in the metaverse, if you will. We will be able to create various scenarios to not only train personnel in all aspects of satellite comms and tactical but also to test the technologies the U.S. has developed to attack adversarial satellites and missiles, rendering them harmless far above the Earth.

These technologies are reshaping possibilities in the virtual and physical realms. Their continuing evolution and emergence promise more immersive digital experiences, enhanced combat effectiveness, and strengthened space defense in 2024 and beyond.

Pete Morrison is co-founder and chief commercial officer at BISim. He is an evangelist for the use of game technologies and other COTS-type products and software in the simulation and training industry. Pete studied computer science and management at the Australian Defence Force Academy and graduated with first-class honors. He also graduated from the Royal Military College, Duntroon, into the Royal Australian Signals Corp. He served as a Signals Corp Officer for several years. His final posting was as a Project Officer in the Australian Defence Simulation Office (ADSO).

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