‘Mad scientists’ predict future of Army

A robotics demonstration takes place at Micro Autonomous Systems and Technology, or MAST, Aug. 22 through 24 at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. (U.S. Army file photo by Jhi Scott)

By U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command


U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command’s Mad Scientist Initiative is a community of action that explores the future operational environment and its military implications.

Mad Scientist continually explores the future, connecting and creating collaborative partnerships between academia, industry and government.

The Mad Scientist community of action consists of conferences with world-class experts at the nation’s premier academic institutions, an online speaker series, an All Partners Access Network site and blog.

In 2017, the Mad Scientist program hosted three major conferences and two crowdsourcing exercises, which informed science and technology investments and the development of modernization priorities through future operational environment assessments. The conferences assisted in the development of the Multi-Domain Battle concept and the Robotics and Autonomy Strategy, improved Army threat emulation and supported the Army Secretariat in developing a strategy on future installations and strategic support rear areas. Key topics and themes addressed:

  • Robotics, Artificial Intelligence and Autonomy, co-hosted with Georgia Tech Research Institute: All things in the future operational environment will be smart, connected and self-organizing; artificial intelligence (AI) and humans must co-evolve, and human teaming with AI enablers will be the best instantiation of general intelligence supporting commanders on the future battlefield.
  • The Enemy after Next, co-hosted with NASA Langley Research Center: The next fight will be characterized by electrons versus electrons, while the fight after next will be characterized by artificial intelligence algorithm vs. artificial intelligence algorithm – how AI is structured and integrated will be the strategic advantage.
  • Visualizing Multi-Domain Battle 2030-2050, co-hosted with Georgetown University: Bio-convergence with advanced computing is occurring; humans will become part of the network connected through embedded and worn devices; smart cities are emerging, and tech speed and convergence will challenge society’s and the Army’s policies and ethics.

Through Mad Scientist initiatives, the Army will continuously learn, adapt, innovate, and allow for broader engagement in problem-solving within the far future of armed conflict.

Mad Scientist planned conferences will continue to seek input from groups outside the military and defense industry and assist the Army in shaping future multi-domain operations in its role as a thought leader on future warfare.

Mad Scientist advances the Army’s understanding of the future, facilitating rapid innovation. As the Army faces unparalleled complexities, Mad Scientist works to ensure future Army readiness.


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To read this as it appears on the Army Stand-To blog, visit https://www.army.mil/standto/2018-01-30.

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