The Convergence - An Army Mad Scientist Podcast

The Convergence is an Army Mad Scientist podcast with a distinct focus on divergent viewpoints, a c ... more

Latest Episodes

31

March 18, 2021 00:32:14
31. The Metaverse: Blurring Reality and Digital Lives with Cathy Hackl

31. The Metaverse: Blurring Reality and Digital Lives with Cathy Hackl

Cathy Hackl is a leading tech futurist and globally recognized business leader specializing in AR, VR, and spatial computing. Ms. Hackl hosts the Future Insiders podcast and has been designated as one of LinkedIn’s Top Tech Voices.  She founded and leads the Futures Intelligence Group, a futures research and consulting firm that works with clients in tech, fashion, media, government, and defense implementing innovation strategies, strategic foresight, and emerging technologies. BigThink named Cathy “one of the top 10 most influential women in tech in 2020” and she has been called the CEO’s business guide to the metaverse.  She was included in the 2021 prestigious Thinkers50 Radar list of the 30 management thinkers most likely to shape the future of how organizations are managed and led. In today’s podcast, Ms. Hackl discusses forecasting, the metaverse, and women in tech. The following bullet points highlight key insights from our interview with her: The world is approaching a pivotal moment for VR/AR/MR. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated adoption of these technologies, as they allow for an elevated sense of presence in a distanced physical world. AR/VR technologies have extremely diverse applications, from filters on social media to the treatment of PTSD and Alzheimer’s disease. Novel applications for these technologies are in constant development, particularly as wearables like “smart glasses” proliferate in the commercial sphere. Although AR/VR are frequently associated with altered visuals, other senses are increasingly incorporated into these platforms. Currently in development is AR that would allow users to focus on a single conversation amidst significant background noise. As the metaverse, a digital copy of the world available in real time, is developed, the ...

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30

March 04, 2021 00:38:30
30. The Future of Ground Warfare with COL Scott Shaw

30. The Future of Ground Warfare with COL Scott Shaw

COL Scott Shaw commands the Asymmetric Warfare Group (AWG), whose mission is to provide global operational advisory support to U.S. Army forces to rapidly transfer current threat based observations and solutions to tactical and operational commanders in order to defeat emerging asymmetric threats and enhance multi-domain effectiveness. In today’s podcast, COL Shaw discusses the future of ground warfare and the realities of combat for tomorrow’s Soldiers. The following bullet points highlight key insights from our interview with him: AWG was developed to promote U.S. Army understanding of asymmetric threats. Today, this effort is focused in three research areas: the operations and information environment, electronic warfare, and countering unmanned systems. The United States needs to balance focus, spending, and training among threats from China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, and violent extremist organizations (VEOs). Strategists need to remember that “the enemy gets a vote,” and thus efforts will need to remain adaptable. While the United States excels at fighting at a Brigade Combat Team-level, future success will stem from excellence in space and cyber operations, electronic warfare, air defense, information operations, and lean logistical planning. These areas are challenging and will require extensive organization and advanced exercise design. The use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) for reconnaissance and targeting will increase. As these systems proliferate, they will lower the ‘entry fee’ into combined arms operations, granting even non-state actors a localized air force and creating a general environment of fear. Development of sensing technologies has made it increasingly challenging to hide. When combined with developments in ...

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29

February 18, 2021 00:52:09
29. The Policy and Law of Lethal Autonomy with Michael Meier and Shawn Steene

29. The Policy and Law of Lethal Autonomy with Michael Meier and Shawn Steene

Michael Meier is the Special Assistant to the Judge Advocate General (JAG) for Law of War Matters at Headquarters, Department of the Army.  As such, Mr. Meier serves as the law of war subject matter expert for the U.S. Army JAG Corps, advising on policy issues involving the law of war.  Mr. Meier also reviews all proposed new U.S. Army weapons and weapons systems to ensure they are consistent with U.S. international law obligations.  Additionally, he is an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University Law Center, instructing courses on the Law of Armed Conflict.  Mr. Meier is a retired JAG officer, having served in the U.S. Army for 23 years. Shawn Steene is the Senior Force Developer for Emerging Technologies, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, where his portfolio includes Emerging Technologies and S&T, including Autonomous Weapon Systems policy and Directed Energy Weapons policy.  Prior to joining OSD Strategy & Force Development, Mr. Steene worked in OSD Space Policy, where his portfolio included Space Support (launch, satellite control, orbital debris mitigation, and rendezvous and proximity operations), as well as strategic stability and all space-related issuances (Directives, Instructions, DTMs, etc.).   He is a proclaimed Mad Scientist, having presented and served as a discussion panelist in our Frameworks (Ethics & Policy) for Autonomy on the Future Battlefield, the final webinar in our Mad Scientist Robotics and Autonomy series of virtual events. In today’s podcast, Messrs. Meier and Steene discuss the ground truth on regulations and directives regarding lethal autonomy and what the future of autonomy might mean in a complex threat environment.  The following bullet points highlight key insights from our interview with them: Current law and ...

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28

February 04, 2021 00:40:03
28. The Next Ten Years of Tech with Eli Dourado

28. The Next Ten Years of Tech with Eli Dourado

Eli Dourado is a senior research fellow at the Center for Growth and Opportunity (CGO) at Utah State University. He focuses on the hard technology and innovation needed to drive large increases in economic growth — speeding up infrastructure deployment, eliminating barriers to entrepreneurs operating in the physical world, and getting the most out of federal technology research programs. He has worked on a wide range of technology policy issues, including aviation, Internet governance, and cryptocurrency. His popular writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Foreign Policy, among other outlets. In today’s podcast, Mr. Dourado discusses technology opportunities in the next decade, the economic impact of shifting technology trends, and their impact on global security.  The following bullet points highlight key insights from our interview with him: According to economic statistics, technological growth has stagnated since 2005. While some claim that the economy has fully matured and further growth will be limited, others argue that there is still room for growth, but U.S. culture and complacency has prevented further growth. In the next two decades, geothermal energy will have the biggest impact on economic development. Cheap, unlimited geothermal energy will enable the use of more expensive materials like silicon carbide by significantly reducing the cost to create them, produce energy without carbon emissions thus mitigating the effects of climate change, and reduce food security concerns via indoor growing models. The United States is now energy independent, which could incentivize a shift away from intervention in the Middle East. Conflict in the region could still significantly impact U.S. supply chains, given Asian reliance on Middle Eastern energy flows. While genetic ...

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27

January 21, 2021 00:43:33
27. Hybrid Threats and Liminal Warfare with Dr. David Kilcullen

27. Hybrid Threats and Liminal Warfare with Dr. David Kilcullen

David Kilcullen is Professor of Practice at the Center on the Future of War and the School of Politics and Global Studies at Arizona State University, a Senior Fellow at New America, and an author, strategist, and counterinsurgency expert. He served 25 years as an officer in the Australian Army, diplomat and policy advisor for the Australian and United States Governments, in command and operational missions (including peacekeeping, counterinsurgency and foreign internal defense) across the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Europe.  In the United States, he was Chief Strategist in the State Department’s Counterterrorism Bureau, and served in Iraq as Senior Counterinsurgency Advisor to General David Petraeus, before becoming Special Advisor for Counterinsurgency to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. He is the author of a number of influential books including The Accidental Guerrilla: Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One, Counterinsurgency, Out of the Mountains, and Blood Year: The Unraveling of Western Counterterrorism — based on an essay that received the Walkley Award, the Australian version of the Pulitzer Prize.  His newest book is The Dragons and the Snakes: How the Rest Learned to Fight the West. In today’s podcast, Dr. Kilcullen discusses the future of conflict, changing concepts of victory, and achieving decisive advantages. The following bullet points highlight key insights from our interview with him: Different actors (state and non-state) are converging on a set of tactics:  small teams, modular, urban, use of cyber kinetics. This convergence is an adaptation to US and Western dominance in a small sub-set of warfare characterized by high tech, connected, exquisite systems of systems. We describe this as conventional or regular warfare because we are the best in the world ...

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26

January 07, 2021 00:26:32
26. Changing Mindsets for the Future with Dr. Lydia Kostopoulos

26. Changing Mindsets for the Future with Dr. Lydia Kostopoulos

Dr. Lydia Kostopoulos is the Science and Technology subject matter expert at the U.S. Special Operations Command’s (USSOCOM’s) Joint Special Operations University where she is working on developing technology related education for the Special Operations Force Professional.  Previously, she was a Strategy and Innovation Advisor conducting forecasting work on technology and the future operating environment for the J5 at USSOCOM. She has addressed the United Nations member states at the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons Group of Governmental Experts (CCW GGE) meeting on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS) and participates in NATO Science for Peace projects. Check out her website at www.lkcyber.com and follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/lkcyber. In today’s podcast, Dr. Kostopoulos discusses the future of competition and conflict and steps the Army can take in preparing for it.  The following bullet points highlight key insights from our interview with her: I think about the future from a point of tech abundancy.  If you think about the availability, accessibility, and benefits of emerging technologies, you can study the flip side of this to identify the associated threats. Examples include the use of technologies by protestors or the use of drones and loitering munitions in small conflicts like Nagorno-Karabakh. There is no shared reality of what competition and conflict is or will look like. In a recent speech, LTG (R) McMaster said that we needed “more strategic empathy” and “less strategic narcissism.” This isn’t about preparing for the war we want to fight because our adversaries will probably not provide us that opportunity. You see this difference in the view of future warfare by studying the growing role of the cyber ...

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