IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

French army will employ sci-fi writers to predict cyber threats

The content of this work, however, will remain highly confidential to keep it from inspiring potential adversaries

Science fiction on a typewriter

The French military is to assemble a team of science fiction writers to imagine possible future cyber threats and inject innovation into cyber defence. 

This will be a small group, known as the "Red Team" which will be comprised of four or five science fiction writers and or futurists. The team will be hired to "propose disruptive scenarios" that military strategists may not think about, according to France's Defence Innovation Agency (DIA).

A part of the Red Team's work will be to put themselves in the shoes of state attackers and terrorist groups in role-playing games, and asses the consequences any cyber-attack using advanced technology. The resulting hypotheses they put forward are then meant to help the armed forces prepare for the consequences of disruptive tech that could drastically change conflicts.

It comes amid efforts by the French government to innovate its approach to cyber defence, with some of these innovations showcased during 2019's Bastille Day celebrations on 14 July.

The content of this work, however, will remain highly confidential, due to its sensitive nature and also to keep it from inspiring potential adversaries, according to the documentation. So it's unlikely a new work of fiction will come out of this, but there is a long history of science fiction predicting the technology of the future.

There are also lots of stories about government bodies seeking the advice of writers. It was widely reported that the US army set up a meeting with Hollywood directors and writers, shortly after the events of 9/11, to create terrorist scenarios.

Famously, Geroge Orwell's 1984 predicted mass surveillance, although not quite in the same guise as Big Brother, with technology today, such as smartphones, home speakers and CCTV being used to watch over us and often breach our privacy.

Technology such as AI and virtual assistants can be traced back to Stanly Kubrick's film 2001: A Space Odessy, which he worked on with British sci-fi author Arthur C. Clarke. Clarke's other works also predicted technology such as driverless cars and the internet decades before they came to fruition.

The second instalment of the time travel trilogy Back to the Future, released in 1989, predicted drones  part of the Bastille Day celebrations showcased 'anti-drone guns' among other technology innovations.

Most recently, and creepily, the TV show Black Mirror inspired a very personal version of AI. In the episode 'Be right back' a smartphone-addicted man is killed in a road accident and his girlfriend uses a service that takes his text messages, social media posts and even recorded calls to create a digital version of him. In 2015, an AI-startup called Luka developed a chatbot based called Roman, based on the text messages of Roman Mazurenko, who died in 2015. The Black Mirror episode directly inspired the startup.

However, France's "Red Team" will be charged with sticking to cyber threats and predicting technology that will potentially pose a risk to national security, rather than segue into the realms of dystopian tech. 

Featured Resources

The state of Salesforce: Future of business

Three articles that look forward into the changing state of Salesforce and the future of business

Free Download

The mighty struggle to migrate SAP to the cloud may be over

A simplified and unified approach to delivering Enterprise Transformation in the cloud

Free Download

The business value of the transformative mainframe

Modernising on the mainframe

Free Download

The Total Economic Impact™ Of IBM FlashSystem

Cost savings and business benefits enabled by FlashSystem

Free Download

Recommended

What is cyber warfare?
Security

What is cyber warfare?

20 May 2022

Most Popular

Why convenience is the biggest threat to your security
Sponsored

Why convenience is the biggest threat to your security

8 Aug 2022
How to boot Windows 11 in Safe Mode
Microsoft Windows

How to boot Windows 11 in Safe Mode

29 Jul 2022
Microsoft successfully tests emission-free hydrogen fuel cell system for data centres
data centres

Microsoft successfully tests emission-free hydrogen fuel cell system for data centres

29 Jul 2022