BBC recently published an article a few days ago titled “Next generation military robots have minds of their own,” a title that brings to mind a world rampant with the Terminator-esque, red-eyed assassin robots.
Robots have increasingly become an important component of military operations, and have recently become even more autonomous from human control. Using robots in modern warfare began during World War II when Germany used a remote-controlled vehicle called Goliath. Since then, robots have become increasingly self-sufficient. Five years ago, Samsung Techwin Co. in South Korea created the SGR- A1, a sentry robot that patrols the border between North and South Korea. The robot is able to autonomously recognize humans and various weapons. Just last week, the Pentagon released plans to upgrade a robot that helps clear bombs in Afghanistan so that it can operate independently in some situations. Tim Trainer, a vice president at iRobot, the company who makes the military robot, hopes that in the future, robots will be able to clear an entire building from threats.
Quite simply, militaries will in time, be using robots that are faster, smarter and operating with little human interference. In fact, according to the India Times, the Pentagon is seemingly anticipating “squadrons of drones in the air, land or sea that would work in tandem with manned machines – often with a minimum of supervision.” The American military; however, insists that humans will be in control when operations are expected to be lethal.
Like all vast changes in the technological industry, the rise of autonomous robots brings up some major quandaries. Will robots be able to tell the difference between soldiers and civilian humans? What are the ramifications of using these robots in warfare? Will these robots affect the way countries interact in the international arena?
Like nuclear weapons, drones have the potential to change power-dynamics on the global stage and the way in which power is gained–but for now, this story is completely predictable. The only states that have the economic and technological capability to produce such robots are those already declared world hegemonies.