When Vladimir Putin said last fall that artificial intelligence is "humanity's future" and that the country that masters it will "get to rule the world," some observers guessed that the Russian president was hinting at unrevealed progress and breakthroughs in the field.
During the Cold War, the Soviet Union organized its vast academic and industrial resources to achieve scientific and industrial breakthroughs for the nation’s military forces.
Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu made a significant announcement in mid-March 2018 at a domestic technology forum. "The serial production of combat robots for the Russian armed forces may start already this year," he stated.
In recent years, Russian Federation borrowed one great idea from the United States — creating a federally funded center for breakthrough and innovating technologies. The Foundation of Advanced Studies — basically the Russian DARPA — launched in 2013.
No one would call Russia's government and budgetary bureaucracy particularly nimble, nor its defense industry particularly advanced. Certainly, it trails Western economies in such key areas as communication equipment, microelectronics, high-tech control systems, and other key technologies. But in certain aspects of the field of unmanned military systems, Russia may be inching ahead of its competition in designing and testing a wide variety of systems and conceptualizing their future use.