Robots at War

(this is a report about robots which a group of me and my friends made, this was my part and I think it’s the most critical issue about robots in future , full report here)Currently, new technology is changing the face of war. In contemporary times, robots are being introduced as an alternative to human soldiers. Thus far, the machines that exist in today’s battlefields are somewhat basic; however, the era of more advanced “War-bots” will arguably alter people’s perspectives, possibly numbing them to the horrific realities of war.

Effects of robots on strategies of war

How they have changed experience of war?

The traditional experience of war is rapidly changing as robots gradually replace soldiers in the battlefields. Concern is growing amongst the first generation of soldiers cooperating with robots. There is a rising anxiety with regards to what the future holds, and some predict that the role of humans during times of war could one day be limited to simply using a remote control. More than a century ago, General Robert E. Lee argued that it is ultimately advantageous for people to find war horrific and frightening, lest they should enjoy and crave it. Additionally, there is the issue of how humans will remain the masters of unmanned systems that have superior speed and intelligence.
One of the most controversial aspects of using robots in the battlefield is their replacement of human soldiers. By replacing humans, robots will allow both citizens and governments to view wars from a very different perspective, possibly permitting them to grow increasingly detached from the losses of war. A high usage of robots may nullify the need for governments to seek citizen’s approval regarding wars, and the option of going to war may seem like an increasingly easy solution for settling issues. Also, it has been predicted that people would become so neutral to the subject of war, and the events on the battlefield that they would watch the war live from television at home, just as they watch their favorite sport game.

How the enemy will receive this technology?

For developing countries going on war with robots will be considered as non-encouraging situation because they feel like the enemy can’t fight face to face or they are not capable of going on war because of their weakness or frightfulness, so it will be just like sacrificing a man for a robot.
And if they won a round against robots it will be hard to win the next round which will be against human soldiers as they were put on “Standby Situation” when the robots fail to win the war.
But for the advanced countries the situation is different. The war between two advanced countries will be like a video game as every soldier controls a robot and tries to destroy as many enemy robots as he can.

remote control plane

Robots in the battlefield

Machines don’t get tired. They don’t close their eyes, they don’t hide under trees when it rains, they don’t talk to their buddies and they don’t know fear so it is preferred to use robots in modern warfare instead of humans.
“My research hypothesis is that intelligent robots can behave more ethically in the battlefield than humans currently can,” said Ronald C. Arkin, a computer scientist at Georgia Tech, who is designing software for battlefield robots under contract with the army.

Foster-Miller TALON

Foster-Miller claims the “TALON” is one of the fastest robots in production, one that can travel through sand, water, and snow (up to 100 feet deep!) as well as climb stairs. The “TALON” transmits in color, black and white, infrared, and/or night vision to its operator, who may be up to 1,000 km away. It can run off Lithium-ion batteries for a maximum of 7 days on standby independently before needing recharging.
It can be easily controlled by a remote controller, the man controlling it can see everything in the screen in front of him and he can take the decision to shoot from his office.
The “TALON” can be deployed with different types of weapons so it is suitable for different types of missions.
This type of robots can be developed to be controlled by itself and then the human will be just giving orders to attack when the war goes on.

Medic robot

Robots now can be as medic and ammo reinforcements instead of humans as they can’t get tired, they can go from place to another easier and faster than humans, they can carry large amounts of ammo and medics, they can operate in bad weather or even in heavy fire situations (if they are bulletproof ) and – obviously- cannot be killed.

Robots as medic and ammo reinforcements

What if these robots have been hacked?

The answer of this question depends on the level of security of these robots; because if the battlefield robots have been hacked by the enemy they can use them for their side to get ammo and to kill the other side.
So the war may turn into virtual war inside the world of networks, hacking and security instead of war by destruction.

Does the “Fair War “conflict with deploying robots at war?

Robots may commit war crimes

Robots as we know have no feeling or sympathy, so they can kill children, old men or animals. That’s only if they take the decision to kill and not being monitored by humans.
So we can’t just let the robots be developed until we set rules to the development of autonomous robots like “No robot take the decision to kill unless it’s given an approval from a human to kill that object”.
Rules will make it easier to decide and punish the perpetrator of the crime and not just blame the artificial system.

Cyborg Moths


Scientists can control the movements of a live moth using a joystick, and this moth was being used to spy on terrorist training camps.
Such a moth would be able to sit in a terrorist camp without arousing suspicion, while sending video and other information back to its home base using a “Reliable tissue-machine interface” .And this technology is being developed now and will be used at some point in the near future.
Cyborg Moths
These “Cyborg Moths” are created by placing computer parts into the caterpillar; so their nervous system grows around the parts, allowing the computer to control the behavior of the adult moth. These Cyborg-moths have been described as one of the most ambitious robotics projects ever conceived by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the research and development arm of the US Department of Defense (DOD).
“Moths are creatures that need little food and can fly all kinds of places,” said Rod Brooks, director of the computer science and artificial intelligence lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). “A bunch of experiments have been done over the past couple of years where simple animals, such as rats and cockroaches, have been operated on and driven by joysticks, but this is the first time where the chip has been injected in the pupa stage and ‘grown’ inside it. Once the moth hatches, machine learning is used to control it.”
Robotics is increasingly at the forefront of US military research, and remote-controlled moths, described by DARPA as Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems, or MEMS, are one of a number of technologies soon to be deployed in combat zones.”This is going to happen,” said Brooks. “It’s not science like developing the nuclear bomb, which costs billions of dollars. It can be done relatively cheaply.”Cyborg Moths
The “DOD” has said it wants one third of all missions to be unmanned by 2015, and there’s no doubt their things will become weaponised.
This may be used against humans in war to destroy and control the enemy’s nervous system, and for sure this is the most destructive weapon has been ever made.

Humans are still in the loop

Human will always be “in the loop” when it comes to pulling the trigger and when creating systems of the autonomous robots, but analysts warn that supervising robotic systems could become complicated as the technology progresses and future robotic weapons “will be too fast, too small, too numerous and will create an environment too complex for humans to direct,” retired Army Colonel Thomas Adams is quoted as saying in “Wired for War.
But humans should still in the loop to control the emotionless machines and to avoid mistakes that could end the life of a human.

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2 thoughts on “Robots at War

  1. but where does Arnold Schwarzenegger fit in?

  2. he'll be the one eating ice cream when the war goes on :D

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