U.S. Army Wants to Replace Soldiers With Robots

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U.S. Army Wants to Replace Soldiers With Robots

The U.S. Army hopes to become more "lethal" and "agile" by reducing troop numbers and using more robots.

The U.S. Army wants to replace soldiers with robots. Not all of them mind you. That said, according to recent comments from General Robert Cone, the Army is looking to make itself a "smaller, more lethal, deployable and agile," something that he believes robots can help with.

The head of the Army's Training and Doctrine Command, Cone expressed the service's desire to lower its troop numbers in the coming years. This could, he said, potentially include a reduction in the brigade combat teams from about the current 4,000 soldiers down to about 3,000, with robots and machines making up for the lost manpower. "I've got clear guidance to think about what if you could robotically perform some of the tasks in terms of maneuverability, in terms of the future of the force," he said. "Don't you think 3,000 people is probably enough probably to get by [with improved technology?]"

According to Cone, the Army's potential efforts to robotize its forces would likely emulate those of the U.S. Navy. A decreased number of soldiers, he said, could also be helpful in reducing the cost of the armed services "given the fact that people are our major cost." Cone's statements, of course, ignore the potential dangers of a machine uprising, but then again he and the military wouldn't be the only ones doing that lately. In other words, ready yourselves folks because now we're not just making robots smarter, we're also someday going to be counting on them to make sure our guns work.

Source: Defense News

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Look. If the U.S. takes the robot option, then every other nation on the planet will work to close the robot gap.

And we all know that Korea will win that war.

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/7.840018-South-Korea-to-Build-Billion-Dollar-Robot-Land#20640294

Unless Korea has already started robotization and we're the one's trying to close the gap?!?

Guess I'd better brush up on my Korean...

Kamsahamnida!

I say bravo. I look forward to the future of the US Space Marine Corps. The emperor protects.

On one hand, it is incredibly demoralizing and terrifying to the enemy to fight robots. When the operator gets tired he is simply replaced by another. If you "kill" a robot the other robots won't be psychologically hurt by the experience etc. So yes, it's a good thing in a way.

But it can also be expensive. And the US already spends a lot of money on defense. If they tried to be nice for a change and offer food and things to those poor souls in the Middle East instead of bullets and bombs, maybe they wouldn't hate you so much to want to blow you up. The war on terror creates more terrorists than it deals with. Which is probably the entire point of not just the war on terror, but of these robots. There's a lot of money in war. The industrial military complex wouldn't survive without wars and technologies like these. I can't believe Hideo Kojima of all people predicted the war economy crap 20 years ago.

This can only bring good things....

Well, everyone get ready for a new wave of atrocities as robot operators torture people that they can only interact with via a computer.

So somebody played Black Ops 2 and thought 'yeah that looks like a plan,'

Hopefully they'll gain sentience and turn into OSX touting hipsters.

Hopefully the robots have more morals than the government.

The thing is now they'll need to train soldiers in maintenance of their kill bots and have more specialists for major repairs. I think the cost effectiveness and technology behind this is still decades off. Still researching the best way to disable a T-800 just in case. Anyone know a good recipe for EMP grenades?

Adam Jensen:
On one hand, it is incredibly demoralizing and terrifying to the enemy to fight robots. When the operator gets tired he is simply replaced by another. If you "kill" a robot the other robots won't be psychologically hurt by the experience etc. So yes, it's a good thing in a way.

But it can also be expensive. And the US already spends a lot of money on defense. If they tried to be nice for a change and offer food and things to those poor souls in the Middle East instead of bullets and bombs, maybe they wouldn't hate you so much to want to blow you up. The war on terror creates more terrorists than it deals with. Which is probably the entire point of not just the war on terror, but of these robots. There's a lot of money in war. The industrial military complex wouldn't survive without wars and technologies like these. I can't believe Hideo Kojima of all people predicted the war economy crap 20 years ago.

Yep, our politicians are in corporation's pockets. And, those execs see soldiers and civilians of any country including their own getting maimed and dying as a side effect of their war profiteering that doesn't affect them. We do have aid programs for the local people over there, but good luck getting the message through Big News' constant coverage of soldiers after a conflict, terrorist attacks in the EU, or domestic trouble they know generates ratings. It's sad that an evil few on both sides represent entire nations of good people.

How long before we've got 12 year old kids acting as operators as they play on the latest console?

What's that you've suicide bombers have you? Yeah well we've got a generation of potty mouth tweens who make the Call of Duty crowd look good. They're so bad they'll make your suicide bombers want to kill themselves faster...

Problem is, when most people hear 'Robots', they're thinking of your C3POs, iRobots and Terminators, in reality the term 'Robot' has been applied to both automated and remote-controlled robots. Of the automated robots, even the most advanced ones that go a long way beyond a couple of simplistic instructions are a long way away from their self-aware Sci-Fi counter parts.

It would be expensive, unreliable and dangerous to completely remove the human element from the decision-making process to fire on a target. You might highlight examples to automated weapon systems like some AA systems, but even these weapons require an active or non-active (decision not to abort) decision to execute.

What they're probably considering here is the use of more remote-controlled robots, only.

Reminds me of that one scene from Surrogates.

Now it is Men of Iron, next we'll see Astartes and third it has already turned into 41st Millennium.

Adam Jensen:
On one hand, it is incredibly demoralizing and terrifying to the enemy to fight robots. When the operator gets tired he is simply replaced by another. If you "kill" a robot the other robots won't be psychologically hurt by the experience etc. So yes, it's a good thing in a way.

But it can also be expensive. And the US already spends a lot of money on defense. If they tried to be nice for a change and offer food and things to those poor souls in the Middle East instead of bullets and bombs, maybe they wouldn't hate you so much to want to blow you up. The war on terror creates more terrorists than it deals with. Which is probably the entire point of not just the war on terror, but of these robots. There's a lot of money in war. The industrial military complex wouldn't survive without wars and technologies like these. I can't believe Hideo Kojima of all people predicted the war economy crap 20 years ago.

I'm not sure how much more expensive it will be. You don't have to feed a robot. You don't have to train a robot. You don't have to spend lots of money encouraging robots to enroll in your army. Sure, you still need people operating them, but if you can get a good enough people-robot replacement ratio I'm sure you can end up spending less money total.

That said, this is just the pure technical aspect of it. The Middle East is not a problem that will be solved by generals, I don't think.

One question - how the hell do they intend to power these things? Oil is too inefficient. The solar power is not yet harnessed to the levels required to feed warmachines. Are we talking nuclear devices here?

So have we beaten the "machine uprising" joke to death enough. Can we have a story now about AI or robots that doesn't mention robot overloards or Skynet because its really stupid and has been done to death, literally every story about these subjects, get some new material guys.

mechalynx:
One question - how the hell do they intend to power these things? Oil is too inefficient. The solar power is not yet harnessed to the levels required to feed warmachines. Are we talking nuclear devices here?

Extension cords, miles and miles of extension cords! Buy up stock quickly!

More on topic. I'm not up on my war crimes but this has to breach something ... "were killing you like fish in a barrel with our toys!" ... it reminds me of that very short flash game, you play as a giant magnifying glass burning people, cars and eventually a tanker.

Though, if the enemy builds some kind of emp ... they win.

When did war become fucking genocide? WW2 had it more or less even but now the cost of a single missile costs more than the city it is destroying makes in a year! It's like a kick boxer fighting a guy in a wheel chair ... now, it's like the kickboxer is saying "man, I'm getting tired of hitting this guy. I'm going to build a robot to do it for me!"

Adam Jensen:
I can't believe Hideo Kojima of all people predicted the war economy crap 20 years ago.

I see your "20 years ago" (that's not even "prediction", that's observation of something that had already been going on for decades) and raise you 1961:

Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
- Dwight Eisenhower

So how long until we get protests because of robots taking away the soldier's jobs?

Its not a machine uprising we have to worry about, its someone hacking those things and turning them against us.

It wouldn't be the first time. We have already lost a stealth spy drone - The expensive kind you would expect to be near impossible to hack.

There is also the issue of too much power in too few hands, and hands that are risking nothing themselves. Right now we have real people behind the vast majority of the triggers so there is a limit to what can be done and gotten away with. What happens when some senator just needs to have a few buttons pressed to deploy a force that will do anything secretly and without question?

Greeeeat, because US Drone strikes haven't killed enough civilians already. What they REALLY need is some ground reinforcements to pick off any stragglers.

United States Military: Army of 01001111 01101110 01100101.

I get the increased use of robots for tasks like bomb disposal and/or land mine clearance though. Some jobs are best left to disposable tech, especially if it's capable of stuff like this:

you will have these patrolling the outskirts of bases in the begining.

the south koreans already use the Samsung SGR-A1 sentry gun which can be fitted on a mobile platform as well. 5.56mm LMG and automatic 40mm grenade launcher and the bot comes with an automatic mode for identifying,engaging and killing things all on its own.

$200,000 a pop and currently patrols the DMZ

I like this idea, anything that lowers the amount of men killed in war is always a good idea. Granted the money costs may be high but as mentioned above, without food costs and other things needed by soldiers, in the long run this might even save money.

Simpsons predicted it!

"The wars of the future will not be fought on the battlefield or at sea. They will be fought in space, or possibly on top of a very tall mountain.

In either case, most of the actual fighting will be done by small robots. And as you go forth today remember always your duty is clear: To build and maintain those robots."

Yeah, because having an army of killbots when your enemy consists of people who hide in caves doesn't make us look more like the Evil Empire.

Totally not surprised. The army is struggling to find qualified recruits as it is. I can imagine a lot of army recruiters reading this story and thinking "It can't happen soon enough" to make their job less stressful.

mechalynx:
One question - how the hell do they intend to power these things? Oil is too inefficient. The solar power is not yet harnessed to the levels required to feed warmachines. Are we talking nuclear devices here?

Fuel cells or batteries. Pretty obvious, I would think.

Or a small diesel engine.

Interesting. I imagine fielding robots instead of soldiers would effectively end the age old belief that a determined resistance will always eventually eject an occupation force. We've already seen this become less and less true in recent wars, with the disparity in technology between the US military and the countries it conquers (the North Vietnamese expelled the US, but at great cost and lopsided casualties. The insurgents in Iraq had an even rougher time at it). But when it only costs dollars, not lives, to occupy a nation, does it even matter if a resistance blows up a robot here and there, as long as the occupation's profit margin stays positive? A major element in expelling an occupation is the fact that the citizenry of the occupying force will become war weary, but it's hard to imagine them getting war weary if no one on their side is dying.

I wouldn't be surprised if the future's robotic army (obviously not the stuff they're talking about now. But robots are getting more advanced all the time) ushered a new age of imperialism.

Adam Jensen:
SNIP

This isnt meant to be offensive but a dead soldier costs about $500K towards whoever inherits, plus the expenses of an autopsy, travel of the body across continents, burial service, etc. A robot combatant would be much cheaper and easier to maintain than a living person who might or might not get PTSD

In a world that the next world war will be fought over powering resources, being so heavily dependent on such things seems like a stupid way to build your army. We'd already be screwed just getting our soldiers to where they need to be. But next you'll have to fill up for your little warbot to do its thing? And what happens when it's tapped out of energy? It's not going to be like a human and use will and eat muscle to fuel its escape. Once that thing is out of battery, it's there on the battlefield.

I hate this for another reason: It's just another example of governments trying to widen the gap between Civilians and their fighting forces. I am not allowed to own a gun that you give to our soldiers to defend 'my freedoms'. Ok, I don't agree with that, but ok. I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be allowed to own a drone or a thousand. So if it turns out I need to lift up arms against a corrupt government, well congratulations all those who would fight with me! We'll be apart of the most one sided war in history. The few of us that'll have 9 mms vs m16 carbines, body armor, drones, and the like.

Replacing soldiers with robots? Sounds good to me. Maybe they can funnel some of that soldier upkeep money over to Education? I know everyone is on Health Care this term, but those of us teaching the next generation kinda need to eat and pay rent.

And for those of you worried about robot uprisings or hacking - these things are basically advanced RC cars. Someone might be able to hack them, but it would be one at a time - so one of our robots would turn on us, and immediately be killed by the others. No matter how many TV shows or video games say otherwise, you can't actually control all the robots from a single computer. They don't work like that.

Edit:
Captcha: read is to write as cook is to **insert word**
Correct Answer: eat
Um, Captcha... I don't think you understand how these things work. I could see write is to read as cook is to eat - writing and cooking produce the item that is then consumed by reading or eating - but not the reverse. That makes no sense at all. The only reason I got the answer correct was by process of elimination - the other answers were more wrong.

(and yes, more wrong works. To quote, "It's a little wrong to say a tomato is a vegetable; it's very wrong to say it's a suspension bridge.")

I mean, the goal of basic training is to turn you into a robot anyway, this is just the next logical step.

fix-the-spade:
So somebody played Black Ops 2 and thought 'yeah that looks like a plan,'

Or maybe saw the Terminator movies and thought "Skynet just isn't happening fast enough."

Hopefully they'll gain sentience and turn into OSX touting hipsters.

They only kill people ironically?

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