Killer Robots

My money is on the killer robots

W.J. Astore

Killer robots!  How many “Terminator” movies do we have to see before we conclude this is not a good idea?

You guessed it: the U.S. military is at it again.  Awash in cash, it’s investigating killer robots in earnest, striving for ever more “autonomy” for its robots, thereby reducing the need for humans in the loop.  Part of this drive for robotic warfare comes from the Covid-19 pandemic, notes Michael Klare at  America’s tech-heavy approach to warfare puts lots of people in close proximity in confined spaces, whether on ships and submarines or in planes and tanks.  “Social distancing” really isn’t practical even on the largest ships, such as the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, briefly put out of commission by the pandemic.  So why not build ships that need few or no people?  Why not build autonomous killer robot ships?

Obviously, the Pentagon thinks that movies like “The Terminator” and “The Matrix,” among so many others that warn about humanity’s overreliance on machinery and the possibility the machines themselves might become conscious and turn on their creators, are just that: movies.  Fantasies.  Because technology never has unpredictable results, right?

So, killer robots are on the horizon, making it even easier for the U.S. military to wage war while risking as few troops as possible.  I’m sure once America invests billions and billions in high-tech semi-autonomous or fully autonomous killing machines, we’ll keep them in reserve and use them only as a last resort.  Just like we do with our big bombs.

To read Michael Klare’s piece on killer robots, follow this link.