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Published:November 25th, 2008 11:22 EST
Robot Soldiers

Get Ready For Robot Soldiers

By Robert Paul Reyes

 

"In the heat of battle, their minds clouded by fear, anger or vengefulness, even the best-trained soldiers can act in ways that violate the Geneva Conventions or battlefield rules of engagement. Now some researchers suggest that robots could do better.

 Robot Soldiers

`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. `That`s the case I make.`

Robot drones, mine detectors and sensing devices are already common on the battlefield but are controlled by humans."

The New York Times

We shouldn`t fear computers, they entertain, educate and make our lives more comfortable. Our society is so dependent on computers that we have reached a stage where we couldn`t survive without them.

In the not too distant future we will be part computer, anyone who doesn`t have a computer chip in his brain will be regarded as a Neanderthal. It`s the next step forward in human evolution, and those who don`t get with the program will be considered second-class citizens. Why spend thousands and dedicate four years to earning a college degree, when the information can be downloaded into your brain in a few seconds? That`s the future baby, and I for one can`t wait.

Computers are everywhere: At work, home and in every public and private building. So why shouldn`t computers (robots are mobile computers) be on the battlefield?

I agree with the computer scientist when he claims that robots can behave more ethically and intelligently on the battlefield. A soldier furious that a bomb has just killed all his buddies may lash out in anger and kill everyone in a village including the elderly and the children. But a robot machine or soldier would be programmed to kill only enemy combatants.

We already have drones operating in Afghanistan and Iraq that are controlled by human operators in Nevada. The next step is to have autonomous robots on the battlefield, who will act logically and won`t be swayed by vengeance or ruled by sadism.

Hopefully one day wars will be fought by robot soldiers and not by human beings, and battlefields will be strewn with burning silicon and not decomposing flesh.

Robots will be especially useful in clearing buildings of suspected insurgents and other missions that entail a high death toll for our brave soldiers.

I hope that robots are programmed not just by generals but also by ethicists and scientists. We can`t allow only generals to program robots, or the mechanical warriors may be as evil as the worst of our military leaders.

In the future I see robots everywhere, not just in the battlefield. Sometimes I wish I could replace my friends and loved ones with robots.