By Lt Col Mark Jacobsen, SAASS
/ Published March 09, 2021
Photo By: Mark Jacobsen
In February, SAASS Class XXX completed SAASS 660: Technology & Military Innovation. The course received a complete refresh three years ago and has continued to evolve since then.
This course is subtitled “Technological Evolution from the Stone Age to AI”, which embodies its core theme: the evolution of both technology and strategy is guided by an algorithm. It is the same algorithm whether we are talking about Neanderthals building stone tools, the Founding Fathers designing new political institutions, or AIs learning to more effectively classify images or develop strategies. The course uses complexity science to develop this algorithmic view of evolution from ancient history until the present, while still emphasizing the intensely human dimension of innovation.
Starting last year, SAASS 660 students no longer write a traditional course paper; instead, they work individually or in pairs to develop a pitch for a new innovation. Faculty encourage students to pick projects within their domains of expertise that they might actually try to implement once they leave SAASS. Two past students have gone on to win pitch competitions elsewhere in the Air Force, and many more have expressed interest in working to execute their ideas.
This year's readings included: