Given the rate of development and application of modern technology, governments have started considering strengthening their national defence systems – the military, entangling the most complex forms of technology into something equally blissful and destructive! Have you thought about how the advancement of science and technology of the day and age would affect warfare in the future? How about 2600?
The military has been subjected to numerous secret experiments and advanced combat training since immemorial. With more advancement, the experiments will keep on increasing. It has a significant effect on each soldier’s memories – both in a good way and bad. So, let’s understand the future of warfare through an illustrative story from a war veteran’s point of view.
Note: The characters in the story below are fictional, and any semblance with events, part or in full, is entirely unintentional.
5 Generations of Warfare till 2600 and Beyond
Hello, my name is Ander Smith. I’m an Afghan war veteran from the United States, and I love lurking around the corners of libraries. Hunting for pieces of information on wars. Having experienced things in a tense battle zone, I can safely attest that war affects various people.
Some lose their limbs, and some have PTSD and other severe traumas, but we all change in some ways after a war. For me, however, it was something which left me with a sense of void once we were called back. A deep sense of void.
To overcome this void, I found books and discussions with people to be a great way out. I was done writing the script for my latest YouTube channel, which I had just started. Explained the various kinds of wars over the generations. I am sure you would like to hear me out!
At first, workforce and battleground tactics decided the winner – back in the times when we still fought with swords, spears and shields. That style of warfare was called first-generation warfare.
Second-generation warfare included Early-modern tactics like guns and other loaded weapons. The third-generation warfare includes leveraging the existing technology beyond the opponent’s limit; the Cold War was the best example of third-generation warfare.
We upgraded it upon Fourth-generation warfare which blurred the lines between civilians and combatants and went all out. The presence of terrorism and non-state insurgency are also elements in fourth-generation warfare. The most recent example could be the United States’ attack on Iraq with the suspicion of the state having weapons of mass destruction.
A knock on the door took my attention. On the outside, there was a perhaps strange-looking lanky man. I was inclined to avoid it for its faintness, but the doorbell made sure I had to attend to the person, whoever it was.
He was tall, around two metres in height, and had donned a camouflage attire, albeit in blue – much like the navy. On top of the attire was a vest that appeared to be bulletproof but was pretty slick and slim. I looked at him with suspicion with a gun in my hand. I do not know whether it was for the weapon or something else; there was something in this man which didn’t look like he would possess a threat.
“I… I have a lot of things to tell you,” said the man, stammering, “may I come in?”
“Who are you?”
“I’d say many things, and you’d still not believe me. My name is Nioron, and I am a human from the year 2600 but since that’s not believable for you, let me suffice with the tag of an obscure science-fiction author!”
“Alright, Nioron… but do you need to dress up like cosplay for that?” I almost blurted, without even thinking that this man was a stranger to me.
Like I told you, there was an almost neurotic air around him. For that matter, his facial features appeared bland – in a feminine and non-confrontational way. His body language appeared more like someone who had been bullied for ages! The wrinkles on his face made it even more apparent that this person was close to his early fifties.
Nioron had marked anxiety on his face. The sort of anxiety appears on the faces of snake oil salespeople when you aren’t buying their bull. Anyways, I indulged in conversation right there, standing at the doorstep. He played some of the mind-tricks detailing out what I would say now.
“You said that the fifth-generation warfare includes sabotaging the enemy without firing a bullet. Technolo00gical upgradation like drones are passe now. Imagine buying out seven of eight newspapers in a region and shaping public opinion daily. Or engaging in a cyberattack wipes out the military’s strategic database. Bio-warfare using viruses. You were thinking of writing exactly this, isn’t it?” He spilled it all in a go.
“Magician,” I played with my gun and asked him, “how did you do this?”
“I told you I was a person from the future!”
He kept on with his stupid stuff but besides, being one beer bottle down is a great time to start such conversations. As long as I was in control of the situation, I didn’t mind something which would be a life threat. We soldiers grow old and grow a conscience over the war enthusiasm! That is one of the things wars do to you. It makes you comfortable enough to face your fears but kills the fear of your death.
Psychological alterations are one reason why the necessity to go to war has significantly declined. People have understood the implications of war and have increasingly shifted to more introverted techniques, such as control over the narrative, funding various places with institutions in nations such as colleges and newspapers. Besides, there are examples like hacking, social engineering and so on. War facts aside, this was a great time to pass the time.
“Amusing. I don’t believe that but sure, go ahead.” Something struck my mind immediately after my statement.
“Right,” I smiled, “so you’re a subscriber?”
“No, but I did read your mind right now. You’re right. A war on information and perception is known as fifth-generation warfare, but we have evolved far beyond. The KGB of Russia already carried out such tactics in the 1970s.”
“No way! You are like a Nordic David Blaine! You’re like a Hafthor Blaine or something!” I was taken aback as I laughed. “Look, it’s impressive, but you can let out a magic trick like that to me, can’t you?”
Nioron was silent. Probably, he believed I would fire my gun and was merry-making and toying with him before his eventual death sentence. I could see beads of sweat on his forehead; by now, I wished I had some more beer to share with him.
“Body language is all we study. You looked like you would go on such a train of thought because you’re dedicated,” Nioron sighed, “but I would like to talk to you about wars.”
We chatted sweet nothings for an hour before he left. Meanwhile, I went inside – got out with a bottle of beer, enjoyed his insights on wars and even talked with him. Looks like the guy knew far more about what would happen in future, but all the time, he never got in and neither did he do anything suspicious.
Apart from his mind-reading, that was. Nioron then revealed what he had to say, much like a nerd who expresses his adoration for the common subject he and his ‘out-of-the-league’ woman wants! Did I compare myself to the most popular girl back in my school days? Anyways, he had specific interesting theories to share!
He mentioned the “generations of warfare” being abandoned as a line of thought within those in defence because of overlapping tendencies. It is because hand-to-hand combat or first-generation warfare is even noticed in conventional warfare, which is carried out in Russia or Ukraine.
When we look at science today, we do not see it as a confluence and collaboration of many things. Take medicines, for example – which you pop whenever you are suffering from an ailment. We purely made that object to serve biological humans using the medicine. Now, look at a defibrillator in a hospital, for instance. That is created solely to induce electrical currents in a human while being used as a therapy.
There is the convergence of physics and chemistry, which can save otherwise dying people. Look at chemotherapy and other wonders too! Likewise, we may imagine a future where biogenic weapons and assault rifles are combined. That way, one gun might not take one life instantly. It would infect several people, and the number of infected people would infect others and thereby, a pandemic would come into existence.
Hacking into an enemy database for a hacker is cool. However, things would be a lot easier in the days to come. With time, there’ll be more complicated and more extensive codes and even better computer languages. It would make cybersecurity a booming business.
In business, there are chances of fraud, and these new frauds blur the difference between espionage and what’s terrorism. In an age where finance operates with reasonable assistance of technology, there are cases of international vested interests. Such things would go through the roof, and people would have more reasons to be paranoid.
Wars would be less blood and gore and more on the contractual end. However, as the old adage goes, all is fair in love and war. It is the reason why we would still see blood and gore!
Likewise, we may imagine a future where biogenic weapons and assault rifles are combined. That way, one gun might not take one life instantly. It would infect many people, and the number of infected people would infect others and thereby, a pandemic would come into existence. People would stop using guns because, with time, they would be so powerful that they would be needed to be kept out of a commoner’s hands. In short, guns would not only remain guns but also probably become a younger brother to nuclear buttons!
We have only seen the usage of nanotechnology and how they help with stem cell therapies in medical science. Can you imagine the scourge on humanity if we assisted these wars with nanotechnology? It would obliterate humans to dust if a bullet, laced with a technology that would disintegrate a person giving him the most painful death, came into existence.
Surveillance would have a massive role in the world we would be creating. It is because surveillance would be needed to keep coders and hackers safe, unlike in the current day. Imagine a blackout of government internet for weeks and the havoc it would wreak upon an entire nation. Or, imagine if the AI assisting various functionings of the government collapsed? That would be the destruction of a nation within minutes.
“That’s it?” I asked as he was about to leave.
“Yeah, that’s it!” Nioron said, handing me over a card which looked like his ID. “I wish to see you again.”
I kept thinking in wonder what else would that might be. What would eventually become sixth-generation warfare can be described as Nioron, the human? It would be exactly like him. Weak and evasive on the exterior, but possessing enough powers to be capable of being considered magic. Just like magic, it is impossible to zero in on any clear way wars must be fought in the sixth generation.
As I said, wars leave me with a sense of void, and this interaction about wars in the next generation created a lot of void for my following content. I was forced to imagine how dangerous it can get to have people like Nioron as the usual kind of people if I were to believe his sci-fi rhetoric.
I tried to paint a vivid picture of what the future of warfare might look like. Yes, things would become more psychological than physical. The man from the year 2600 is my illustration of the future generation of warfare. What do you think about the future of military and defence technology?