Robots on the Battlefield. Contemporary Perspectives and Implications for the Future   [open pdf - 12MB]

"Technological innovation brings with it the promise of greater efficiency. This is particularly true for innovations applied to the implements of war. Moreover, at punctuated intervals throughout human history technical and scientific developments have resulted in a nonlinear change of both battlefield tactics and national strategies. The airplane, the tank, and the magazine-fed rifle are modern examples, but the bow and the stirrup had equally revolutionary impacts on the armies of their times and later. Still, the process of innovation and the many avenues of exploration required before success is achieved can desensitize those who witness it. Since 2001, the United States and its allies have employed a host of unmanned or remote-operated 'robotized' devices to support military operations both on the ground and in the air. The proliferation of this technology tends to lessen our recognition of its potential to dramatically change the character of warfare. Although much of the world's current experience with ground robots is directly related to the clearing of mines and IEDs [improvised explosive devices], it is not unreasonable to expect that within the lifetimes of current flesh-and-blood soldiers the world will witness the first use of mechanical 'soldiers.'"

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