Machine Takeover: Navy Says Combat Robots Multiplying Fast, Need "Battlefield Ethics" Pronto Things like this make me nervous. I love the idea of technology and robots (building one would be a blast), but my concern is that war and combat will stop being dangerous. When that happens, it will be too easy to resort to war. There is a big difference between committing your own skin and committing a robot. It doesn't take much before you end up in a video game, and people will separate from the idea that robot or not, real people are on the other end of that robot's algorithm. Don't even get me started on the Terminator references.
I spend a lot of time studying military history, and I've been honored to meet and thank several Medal of Honor recipients, and I tell you they knew what they were up against. It wasn't a robot being risked. It was their life.
I remember an old Star Trek episode where two civilizations figured out a way for war to not be "messy." Basically, computers would "fight" the battles and determine who the casualties were, and those casualties would show up to be euthanized. Without the mess, the war goes on forever. It isn't until Captain Kirk and company are determined to be casualties that the machines are destroyed and the civilizations are forced to actually fight or end the war. Of course, when confronted with the realities of war, the civilizations figure out a way to resolve their issues. The point of show was that you can't take the "human" out of the inhumanity of war. Without humanity, you loose a huge deterrent to war.
It's interesting that many people feel that military people always want to resort to combat first. However, if the military person is a combat veteran, the opposite is more likely because they understand the implications. This is why I always want a veteran in charge. You know they aren't afraid to go there, but you also know they don't take it lightly. Usually, the gung-ho person is the one that hasn't been there before. It's hard to imagine someone sitting behind a computer screen having the same reservations as someone who has been shot at.
Bottom line, war should be hard. It needs to be messy, and it shouldn't be a video game. If it becomes a video game, I expect we will see a lot more of it, and no one (except maybe a warlord) wants that.