Israel-Japan Conference“The army is the engine of the startup nation”
“The army is the engine of the startup nation”
The former head of the Shin Bet Nadav Argaman and the former commander of the Israel Air Force Amikam Norkin expressed concerns during the Israel-Japan Conference about the availability of cheap technologies that could fall into the hands of hostile actors
"What is happening in Ukraine should worry every country in the world. Israel has been experiencing this challenge for many years. The threat of missiles and rockets and now the added threat of drones. It is a technology that is becoming widespread and it is also cheap," former commander of the Israel Air Force, Amikam Norkin, said on Tuesday during a panel alongside Nadav Argaman, the former Director of the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) at the Israel-Japan Conference.
Argaman also expressed concern about the availability and accessibility of cheap technologies that could fall into the hands of hostile actors. "From the perspective of the Israel Security Agency, it should be noted that today's technologies are very cheap. In the past, they were reserved for the state level, and today they can be purchased on the private market and create a threat to a state's critical infrastructures. Social networks also constitute a great threat, because it is possible to mobilize a large public with them relatively easily and to influence elections, for example. This technology is very accessible and therefore also threatening. Terrorist organizations can easily create a threat and therefore defense is also more complicated than before."
Norkin and Argaman agreed that one of the important aspects is cooperation between the various branches of the security establishment. "In the State of Israel there is a very good relationship between the branches, such as the intelligence community with the Air Force, a cooperation that makes military operations much more precise," Norkin said. "Cooperation between organizations in Israel is crucial. You don't do anything today by yourself, you also need international cooperation to deal with today's threats. This is true in the security, technological and commercial fields," added Argaman.
How does artificial intelligence fit into these technologies? Will the security sector also need fewer people down the road?
"In the future, we will see one pilot fly 4-5 planes and it will be the same at sea and on land," believes Argaman. "There will be a big change. Even those who will not be required to engage in technology development, will be required to operate it. We will see big data and AI systems that make a lot of roles redundant. There will be more autonomous systems integrated with people at the edge. The metaverse, which is just at its infancy, will also create a real global revolution, also in the security world."
Norkin also believes that the roles of humans will change. “There will always be a person involved. When I compare the planes of the 1970s and 1980s, most of the operations were done by the pilot. Today there are dozens of computers, there is already AI in the plane, and also in the intelligence processes in control and command. But people follow people and not an app. That's why we need people to lead and as technology develops there will be new skills, but human leadership will be preserved.
Norkin and Argaman also discussed the engines of innovation in Israel and the differences between it and Japan: "In the Israeli Air Force, a third of the people are under 19 years old, we place a lot of responsibility on young people and this gives them a sense of independence and capability, which makes them good entrepreneurs who make decisions. The army is the engine of the startup nation,” he explained.
Argaman mentioned that in the Shin Bet there are four different generations among the employees and they all adapt to their different characteristics. "The difference between Israel and Japan is somewhat reminiscent of the generational differences here."
In response to a question about the engine of growth produced by technology and the way in which it disrupts the work of security organizations, Argaman shared his experience in the joint accelerator set up by the Shin Bet and TAU Ventures, the venture capital fund of Tel Aviv University, which was established during his tenure: "Some of the technologies developed in the accelerator were adopted in the service and some went out into the free world. This creates a connection of relative and important advantages. For example, one of the companies I accompanied founded another company that produces ice cream in capsules while adapting a breakthrough technology in the security world."
"We understand that the significant growth engines in the near future are big data and AI, a topic that is less mentioned is space and another topic is the laser. These are technologies that will be very significant in the security and civilian context. Usually a security organization absorbs new technology into it, but in fact the opposite should be done. The technology should absorb the organization. That's the only way organizations can really change," Norkin concluded.