A leading role in Cognitive Warfare direction is played by the Innovation for Defense Excellence and Security (IDEaS) Specialized Center, also known as the Innovation Hub, located in Canada. However, this center is not included in the list of NATO’s official accredited centers of excellence , such as the Center for Cooperative Cyber Defense in Tallinn or the Center for Energy Security in Vilnius. Probably, NATO did not want to draw attention to its work, so it functions “autonomously”.
It should be admitted that this concealment approach was successful, since, judging by the news feed, the Center began work back in 2017.
The officially designated goals differ little from the work of other similar NATO centers. They are indicated by general phrases and represent:
– Access to a wide community of experts both inside and outside NATO;
– Online collaboration platform to interact with the community;
– Knowledge base on all topics considered by the Innovation Center;
– Documents on innovative solutions to meet the future capabilities of NATO and countries;
– Ability to explain your problems, ask your questions or offer your solutions.
The site lists seven areas in which the center operates. These are education and training, decision-making mechanisms, cyberspace, humanitarian initiatives, information and disinformation, autonomous systems and strategy. However, the most frequently recurring theme in several directions at once is cognitive war. At the end of 2020, the center released a study on this topic , the author of which was indicated by François de Clusel.
The foreword of the work says that :
“the human mind is now seen as a new field of war. With the growing role of technology and information overload, individual cognitive abilities will not be sufficient to ensure informed and timely decision-making, which will lead to the emergence of a new concept of cognitive war, which in recent years has become a recurring term in military terminology … Cognitive warfare has a universal scope, from individual to states and multinational organizations. She uses methods of disinformation and propaganda aimed at the psychological depletion of information receptors. Everyone contributes to this, to one degree or another, consciously or subconsciously, and this provides invaluable knowledge about society, especially open societies such as in the West. This knowledge can then be easily used as a weapon … The tools of information warfare, along with the addition of “neuro-weapons,” broaden future technological perspectives, suggesting that the cognitive field will become one of the battlefields of tomorrow. This perspective is further strengthened by the rapid advances in nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, cognitive sciences and understanding of the brain. “
Of course, these technologies and the interest in them from the point of view of the military is nothing new. The American agencies DARPA and IARPA have been involved in these areas for many years. But in this case, this approach is recognized as a promising strategy for waging the war of the future on the part of NATO. And neuroweapons – as an important component of the military. A number of definitions are given in the report.
“Cognitive warfare is a war of ideologies that seeks to undermine the trust underlying every society … Disinformation takes advantage of the cognitive vulnerability of its targets, taking advantage of pre-existing fears or beliefs that predispose them to accept false information. This requires the aggressor to have a clear understanding of the socio-political dynamics that are taking place and to know exactly when and how to infiltrate in order to make the best use of these vulnerabilities. Cognitive warfare exploits the inherent vulnerabilities of the human mind due to the way it is designed to process information, which, of course, have always been used in war. However, due to the speed and prevalence of technology and information, the human mind is no longer able to process the flow of information. What makes cognitive warfare different from propaganda is that everyone is involved, mostly unintentionally, in processing information and generating knowledge in an unprecedented way. This is a subtle but significant change. While individuals have passively submitted to propaganda, they now actively contribute to it. The exploitation of human cognition has become a mass industry. And new artificial intelligence tools are expected to soon provide propagandists with radically expanded opportunities to manipulate the human mind and change human behavior. “
The report also talks about behavioral economics, which is defined as a method of economic analysis that applies psychological understanding of human behavior to explain economic decision-making.
As research in decision making shows, behavior is becoming more computational.
In operational terms, this means the massive and methodical use of behavioral data and the development of methods for actively seeking new sources of data. With the vast amount of (behavioral) data that everyone generates largely without our consent and awareness, further manipulation is easily achievable.
Large companies in the digital economy have developed new data collection methods to display personal information that users may not necessarily intend to disclose.
And redundant data has become the basis for new prediction markets called targeted advertising.
“ These are the origins of surveillance capitalism in an unprecedented and lucrative brew: behavioral surplus, data science, physical infrastructure, computing power, algorithmic systems, and automated platforms, ” the paper says.
And all this has already been worked out by such Western giants as Facebook, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and others. It is no coincidence that they have been repeatedly criticized both for imposing a monopoly and for using manipulations based on the data of the users themselves. And since they all actively cooperate with the US security forces as contractors, this creates a risk of deliberate manipulation for users from all over the world.
It is also argued that the lack of regulation of the digital space benefits not only the regimes of the digital age, which can have a significant impact not only on computer networks and human bodies, but also on the minds of their citizens, but also used for malicious purposes, as the Cambridge scandal showed. Analytica.
Cambridge Analytica’s digital model described how to combine personal data with machine learning for political purposes by profiling individual voters to target personalized political ads.
Using the most advanced survey and psychometric methods, Cambridge Analytica has actually been able to collect a huge amount of data about people, which has helped them understand, through economic, demographic, social and behavioral information, what each of them thinks. This literally opened a window to the minds of the company.
The author writes that “gigantic data collection, organized with the help of digital technologies, is today mainly used to determine and predict human behavior. Behavioral knowledge is a strategic asset. Behavioral economics adapts psychological research to economic models, thereby creating more accurate representations of human interactions. “
At the same time, many such companies from the United States continue to work quietly in Russia and collect data from our citizens.
Another interesting aspect highlighted in research on cognitive warfare is cyberpsychology, which sits at the intersection of two main areas: psychology and cybernetics. As it is said:
“all of this has to do with defense and security, as well as all areas that are important to NATO in the process of preparing for transformation. Cyberpsychology, focused on elucidating the mechanisms of thought and the concepts, uses and limits of cybernetic systems, is a key issue in the vast field of cognitive sciences. The evolution of artificial intelligence introduces new words, new concepts, but also new theories that cover the study of the natural functioning of people and the machines they create, and which are now fully integrated into their natural environment (anthropotechnical). The people of tomorrow will have to invent a psychology for their relationship to machines. But the challenge is also to develop the psychology of machines, software with artificial intelligence or hybrid robots. Cyberpsychology is a complex scientific field that encompasses all psychological phenomena associated with or affected by relevant evolving technologies. Cyberpsychology explores how humans and machines affect each other and explores how the relationship between humans and artificial intelligence will change human interaction and machine-to-machine communication. ”
The report also highlighted the problematic points related to human thinking. It is said that “cognitive biases can lead to imprecise judgments and poor decision making, which can provoke unintended escalation or prevent timely identification of threats. Understanding the sources and types of cognitive biases can help reduce misunderstandings and help develop more effective strategies to respond to attempts by opponents to take advantage of these biases.
Specifically, the brain:
– cannot determine whether specific information is correct or incorrect;
– Used to quickly determine the validity of messages in the event of information overload;
– is inclined to believe statements or messages that he has already heard as true, even if they may be false;
– accepts statements as true if they are supported by evidence, without regard to the authenticity of this evidence. “
There is also a section dedicated to Russia. Like other similar studies, the mention of the role of Russia, rather, serves to justify the need to allocate funds for the development of neuro-weapons and methods of cognitive warfare so that NATO does not get ahead of opponents.
It has already given a clear formulation of terminology, which indicates the adoption of the concept of cognitive warfare by NATO.
“Cognitive warfare is a combined arms approach that combines the non-kinetic combat capabilities of cyber, information, psychological, and social engineering to win without physical struggle. This is a new type of war, defined as the use of public opinion by external actors as a weapon. This is done with the aim of influencing and / or destabilizing the nation. These attacks can be thought of as a matrix: covering few and many; influencing thoughts and actions; goals range from the entire population to individual measures; between communities and / or organizations. Attacks are aimed at changing or amplifying thoughts. The way it is conducted differs from more traditional areas of warfare. Information warfare tries to control what the target audience sees, psychological warfare controls what the target audience sees
This paper presents a number of technologies to improve NATO’s work.
“The first consists of “real” means of cognitive electronic warfare (CRB). It is defined as using cognitive systems, artificial intelligence, or machine learning to improve the development and operation of electronic warfare (EW) technologies for the defense community. More like automated warfare, it differs from a real cognitive system, which would make plans in terms of taking into account the thoughts and behaviors one would expect from its opponents. It consists of two types of KRB instruments. The first one is not kinetic and uses electronic warfare systems to change the enemy’s thoughts / behavior by targeting his information / influence systems. On the other side,
The second technology is 3D bioprinting using nerve tissue … Another technology is a virtual reality cognitive performance trainer. Including virtual reality training and neural data analysis, this approach improves human performance in military missions. It combines virtual reality with electroencephalography (EEG) sensors and a human control system to improve performance by analyzing neural data obtained during training. Working in stressful environments often places additional demands on individuals, with the result that human cognition becomes the most important factor. This is aimed at improving operational performance. The user’s headset is equipped with sensors that which collect EEG data during certain rounds and during the entire gameplay. As part of the Stroop test, the user is asked to shoot at targets in three separate rounds, subject to distractions and increasing the time. After each round, the user is placed in a “break room” where their stress level can return to their original level before being subjected to another round of the test. A detailed follow-up report tracks technical and tactical outcomes such as accuracy, decision making and excitement. All of this is formulated in a unique performance score at the end of the simulation. Each session is measured, stored and analyzed in the arrow control system, where the data is displayed using a virtual dashboard. As part of the Stroop test, the user is asked to shoot at targets in three separate rounds, subject to distractions and increasing the time. After each round, the user is placed in a “break room” where their stress levels can return to their original level before being subjected to another round of the test. A detailed follow-up report tracks technical and tactical outcomes such as accuracy, decision making and excitement. All of this is formulated in a unique performance score at the end of the simulation. Each session is measured, stored and analyzed in the arrow control system, where the data is displayed using a virtual dashboard. As part of the Stroop test, the user is asked to shoot at targets in three separate rounds, subject to distractions and increasing the time. After each round, the user is placed in a “break room” where their stress level can return to their original level before being subjected to another round of the test. A detailed follow-up report tracks technical and tactical outcomes such as accuracy, decision making and excitement. All of this is formulated in a unique performance score at the end of the simulation. Each session is measured, stored and analyzed in the arrow control system, where the data is displayed using a virtual dashboard. where his stress level can return to baseline before being subjected to another round of the test. A detailed follow-up report tracks technical and tactical outcomes such as accuracy, decision making, and excitement. All of this is formulated in a unique performance score at the end of the simulation. Each session is measured, stored and analyzed in the arrow control system, where the data is displayed using a virtual dashboard. where his stress level can return to baseline before being subjected to another round of the test. A detailed follow-up report tracks technical and tactical outcomes such as accuracy, decision making, and excitement. All of this is formulated in a unique performance score at the end of the simulation. Each session is measured, stored and analyzed in the arrow control system, where the data is displayed using a virtual dashboard. The latest technology consists of quantum computing and technology. This is the only way to process giant disparate datasets and get insights quickly. In the future, this will be critically important in order to be able to conduct neural stimulation at the nanoscale in humans. “
Thus, we see that NATO scientists take the most serious approach to the introduction of new methods of warfare, which are based on the latest achievements of various sciences. Incidentally, the first victims of NATO’s cognitive warfare innovations were Canadians. The citizens of this country were used as guinea pigs, knowing nothing about the manipulations they were subjected to.
In April 2020, a propaganda plan was developed and put in place, with the Covid-19 epidemic serving as a cover. Although the Canadian Forces have already admitted that ” information operations, policies and targeting doctrines are for adversaries and have limited internal application.”
The plan, developed by the Canadian Joint Operations Command, also known as CJOC, was based on propaganda methods similar to those used during the war in Afghanistan. The campaign called for the “shaping” and “use” of information. The CJOC argued that the information operations scheme was necessary to prevent Canadians’ civil disobedience during the coronavirus pandemic and to reinforce government communications about the issue.
A separate initiative, unrelated to the CJOC plan, but overseen by intelligence officers of the Canadian armed forces, was to collect information from public social media accounts in Ontario. Data on Black Lives Matter meetings and BLM leaders was also collected. Senior military officers argued that the information was necessary to ensure the success of Operation Laser, the Canadian Forces’ mission to help long-term care homes affected by COVID-19, and to help distribute vaccines in some northern communities. Of course, after the information was published in the Canadian media, few people believed these excuses, since they are completely unconvincing. Finally, it should be noted that the NATO Innovation Network Conference is already scheduled for November 9th . A November 30 – NATO Innovation Challenge Conference to be held in Ontario. This indicates that developments in the field of cognitive warfare on the part of the West will continue.