That day is not far when on the battlefield, near, or even in place of the living robot soldiers will be soldiers. What new technologies will bring the war to people and what will result?
War with the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have become a reality. The fighting with robots — the nearest future.
Not so long ago, the U.S. Air Force demonstrated the UAV X-47B, reminiscent of an arrowhead, which is able to fulfill his mission without any human intervention.
For a long time, there are missile systems such as "The Patriot" that recognize and target are in automatic mode.
What remains is only a few steps to creating a fully autonomous robot fighting, which will take over many of the functions of the person and completely change our understanding of modern warfare.
In the laboratory of the Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia, Professor Henrik Christensen experiencing a prototype of such a robot, which is designed to detect insurgents operating guerrilla methods. Christensen's research and he leads a team of engineers funded by the well-known defense corporation BAE.
Henrik Christensen engaged in the development of robot intelligence
The purpose of the project — the creation of a robot that can perform the study area, where the enemy takes cover, map the possible locations of its concentration and collect other information that will help people in developing military plans.
One of the developments Henrik Christensen
These robots do not carry weapons, their purpose is to gather intelligence. However, in the professional literature is actively discussing the possibility of creating armed robots that behave like locusts or other insects.
"The idea that people can build machines whose sole purpose is to kill, cause horror"
Nobel Peace Prize
They must join in with the appearance of a huge swarm of enemy gang up on him, just like ants attacking their prey. Each device must have a small warhead or use the kinetic energy of the impact.
Pete Singer, an expert on the future of military technology at the Brookings Institution in Washington, said that the appearance on the battlefield fighting robots raises fundamental questions.
"From time to time in the history of military equipment comes a time when there is something that leads to a complete change in the situation — he says. — For example, as was the case with gunpowder, so it was with a machine gun, the atomic bomb, a computer. And fighting robots can be a disruptive technology. "
"This means that their appearance will change everything — from the tactics employed on the battlefield, to the organization of troops, not to mention the issues of politics, ethics and law," — said the expert.
Jody Williams, an American who received the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for organizing a campaign in favor of a ban on antipersonnel mines, believes that autonomous combat systems being developed now, over time, turn into a deadly weapon.
She emphasizes that such neutral terms as "autonomous weapons systems" are misleading, and they must be discarded.
"We prefer to call them the killer robots, because this is precisely their problem. When I first heard about them, I was horrified at the thought that people can build machines whose sole purpose is to kill, "- says Nobel laureate.
But here's the Professor Ronald Arkin of the Institute of Technology in Atlanta, takes a different view.
He is the author of the concept of the combat system controlled by the so-called "ethical supervisor."
Such a robot is programmed in such a way that he will be obliged to follow the principles of international law and the rules of engagement.
"Everyone raise their hands to the sky and terrified — killer robots, robotic villains! — He says. — But now the violence committed by people acting on the battlefield. They are a constant companion of all wars since the beginning of history. "
Arkin believes that hardware will reduce the number of casualties among the civilian population caught in the combat zone.
He is a lobbyist for the defense industry, and obviously a lot of thinking on these issues.
There is also another aspect of the ongoing debate right now, which is able to influence the future development programs fighting robots.
Fighting robots and ethics
The fact is that while the United States are among the leaders in this area, such a situation, as stressed by Pete Singer, can not last forever.
"In addition to the United States there are 76 countries that have programs to develop military robots — indicates a scientist. — It is now possible to buy a couple of hundred dollars drone, which two years ago was classified. We are talking about technologies that spread globally, and very quickly. "
An example of this is the practice of unmanned vehicles that are used for precision strikes on pre-selected targets, including humans. Such elimination of combatant commanders or leaders of the rebel cause debate in the media and society.
With the proliferation of military robots that debate will inevitably shift to the ethical principles of their application.
Nobel laureate Jody Williams is preparing to launch an international campaign for a ban on the development of military robots.
"If the research, development and, ultimately, the use of these vehicles will continue to change the whole complexion of the war horrifically," — she said.
Professor Ronald Arkin does not agree with this assessment.
According to him, the introduction of such a ban without assessing whether military robots to reduce civilian casualties, ignoring the interests of those who are victims of wars involving human subjects.