Voices from Accenture Public Service


A key trend from this year’s Accenture Technology Vision, DARQ Power, sets out how the next wave of technologies – distributed ledger, AI, XR and AR and quantum computing – promise to be the catalysts for change that will offer Defence organisations extraordinary new capabilities and also new threats.

The pace of change is gaining momentum and public service leaders recognise this. Ninety three per cent of them say that emerging technologies have accelerated innovation in their organisation over the past three years. And as technology continues to evolve rapidly, Defence leaders should investigate and prepare for the wave of disruption that is coming. We see that in the near future XR will change how training is performed. Currently, training requires huge numbers of people and resources, but by using XR it can be done in a fully virtualised environment, decreasing cost and time. AI will also be used in the training process to support decision making, for example through video analytics.

The digital revolution has seen SMAC (social, mobile, analytics, cloud) technologies combine to create a new way for Defence organisations to understand changes in society, predict threats and have a better view and understanding of situations in an instant. Like SMAC, the true power of DARQ lies not in each individual technology, but the combined effect of all four. Sixty four per cent of public service leaders believe that the combined impact of these technologies will be transformational or extensive for their organisation over the next three years. All of these technologies will have a huge impact on Defence organisations and the threat landscape. AI and machine learning will support decision making, autonomous airborne vehicle operation, cyber threat detection, offensive cyber operations, targeting and military intelligence. XR will revolutionise training. Quantum computing and distributed ledger won’t have immediate effects but may change security protocols and data sharing dramatically in future.

Defence leaders should not delay in thinking about how they can take advantage of DARQ technologies to increase their agility, improve their capabilities and empower their warfighters. Some are already forging ahead, particularly with AI. Only 6% of public service organisations that we surveyed say that they are not planning or evaluating AI adoption, with 35% having already adopted it in at least one business unit. According to Accenture Research, 82% of federal executives believe that “AI will work next to humans as a co-worker, collaboration and trusted advisor” within the next two years.

As Defence organisations move closer to these goals, they should also accept a new level of responsibility. Using technologies to reach further into people’s lives, shaping the very fabric of reality, we suggest to address the privacy, security, ethics, and governance questions that come along with that level of access, in a responsible manner.

Are you already using XR and AI in your Defence organisation to react to new or changing threats? If not, how do you plan to do so?


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