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i, ROBOT: Are robotic armies destined to replace manned systems?

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posted on Jun, 19 2004 @ 02:15 AM
First, yes, I know that Asimov's stories didn't deal with military robots (the first law and all that), but I wanted a catchy title...

OK, are humans destined to be replaced by robots on the battlefield? I say: Yes, and here's why:

-The death of a robot can't be used for propaganda reasons by either foreign or domestic enemies
-The media won't broadcast stories where a robot's dad goes onscreen and blames the president for the death of his robot son
-though initially expensive, a robot, in any form, is not as expensive as a human when lifetime expenses are taken into account. Sure, flying robots might cost millions of dollars, but they are cheaper than manned aircraft, still
-Robotic casualties won't register with the general public
-Even if a robotic unit is defeated by a human unit, you still have zero dead (for the robot operating side) compared to X number of human dead for the 'victors'.
-Robots have no morale problems
-Robots don't complain about deployments
-Robots leave no widows or orphans
-Robots have no ego
-Robots would have no interest in rape, sexual harrassment, or corruption
-Robots would not get into situations with local residents near bases
-Robots can be replaced.

The downsides:
-Robotic armies might be seen as TOO expendable
-A country might be too prone to initiate wars if it had a force that had robotic combatants
-A society might become too lazy, cowardly, or disinterested if its fighting was done by machines
-The same robotic principles could be used to put many people out of work

Now.. in writing this... I don't mean to come across as casting derision on our current soldiers, airmen, sailors, or marines. All I am saying is that it makes sense to fill as many combat jobs with mechanized soldiers as possible... if only for the reason that lives will be saved.

I know that there might be objections to this based on culturally-centered notions of honor and pride... but I'd like to remind everyone that armies and social orders that refused to accept firearms -- due to notions of honor -- were eliminated from the course of history. There are no knights or samurais today, just as there are no soldiers with wooden spears. It makes sense to approach honor as a personal thing... not something that dictates what weapons you use.

Anyways... what are your thoughts on this? here are some articles you might find interesting?

In conclusion, as Wordsworth said, the child...

(real world robot that can mimic human motions)

is the father of the man...

(fictional star wars battle droid)

posted on Jun, 19 2004 @ 02:37 AM
In the near future, I think remotely controlled vehicles (tanks, aircraft, etc.) will make more headway than autonomous robots. Autonomy will be phased in (some low-level control will always be delegated to the vehicle/robot unless overrided, and more control will be transferred as artificial intelligence techniques become more sophisticated and more reliable).

I guess full autonomy comes when the robots can reliably outperform humans in situations that do not match training. And the limitations of communication efficiency and control by humans of complex systems are a pressure for developing that better AI that we lack today.

ADDED: Sorry, shouldn't make it seem like I think AI is the only obstacle. Sensors and actuators that are sensitive and precise, and yet stand up to rugged terrain, are needed. Self-maintenance is hard to achieve in practice (I figure). Heat dissipation might be a challenge when complex movement is required with speed for heavy robots. Fuel requirements could be huge for heavy-combat robots; need robot-to-robot refueling or something bizarre like that.

[edit on 19-6-2004 by HeirToBokassa]

posted on Jun, 19 2004 @ 05:22 PM
i think in a hundred years mabey a robot will be as efficient as a human. But for now ucav's will do and i dont think the mlitary will replace humans all together for traditional reasons mabey a mix but not just robots.


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