The paper, reportedly titled 'The Future Starts Today,' which is yet to be released to the public, allegedly says that as the world becomes more volatile, and the threat posed by non-state terrorism continues to increase apace alongside climate change, "new areas of conflict" will also start to emerge, including the space and cyberspace realms.
Commenting to the media on the report, UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said that, "This report makes clear that we are living in a world that is becoming rapidly more dangerous, with intensifying challenges from state aggressors who flout the rules, terrorists who want to harm our way of life and the technological race with our adversaries."
"Identifying these threats means we can continue to build an armed forces that can stay ahead of them," he added.
The paper is part of the MoD's upcoming sixth edition of the ‘Global Strategic Trends' report, developed by the MoD's think tank, ‘the Development Concepts and Doctrine Centre,' and was said to be developed with allied countries, including Sweden, France, Germany, Australia and others.
Rather portentously, it tells of a world in which autonomous systems may claim a monopoly on the conduct of warfare, warning that, "whilst it is envisaged that humans will continue to be central to the decision-making process, conflicts fought increasingly by robots or autonomous systems could change the very nature of warfare, as there will be less emphasis on emotions, passion and chance."
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As if the idea of robot armies isn't startling enough, the paper allegedly goes on to describe an almost dystopian scenario, in which the possibility of "human enhancement" by "gene editing, physical and cognitive prosthesis and pharmaceutical enhancement" becomes a reality.
The report's authors go on to prophesize that the enhancement of such military capabilities will create a "profound expansion of the boundaries of human performance." Suggesting that the MoD is open to dabbling in such technologies, the report allegedly adds, "the application of these technologies and the integration of human and machine on the battlefield present opportunities to enhance military capability."
However, reports say that while the MoD is aware of the battlefield advantage such developments could confer upon the UK's forces, specific "moral, ethical and legal thresholds" would need to be worked out.
One of the reports other main grim forecasts concerns the use of nuclear weapons, saying that their deployment is likely to become more commonplace: "the number of nuclear-armed states could rise and increasing investment in tactical nuclear weapons and electromagnetic pulse weapons will increase the risk that nuclear weapons are used."