Daily Archives: August 22nd, 2007

Dehumanizing War

I have been wracking my brains out trying to find something different relating to science, but relevant to today’s world. Then I ran across this post in the Daily Galaxy :

Increasingly, the military wants to hand over the responsibility of killing to conscienceless machines. Some say it’s a great way to protect our troops and others are calling it a cold-hearted cop-out.

In either case, the US military hopes to dehumanize military operations as quickly as possible. The US National Research Council advises “aggressively exploiting the considerable war fighting benefits offered by autonomous vehicles”. They are cheap to manufacture, require less personnel and, according to the navy, perform better in complex missions. One battlefield soldier could start a large-scale robot attack in the air and on the ground.

The US military already has unmanned aerial vehicles armed with hellfire missiles. “At present they require a human to give, by remote, permission to fire,” says Owen Holland, professor of computer science at the University of Essex, “but it will not be long before they can take the human out of the loop.”

The U.S. Government has made no secret about wanting to increasingly utilize robots and other “unmanned” equipment to use in warfare. This is one of the mandates of the Pentagon 20 Year Strategy, to “dehumanize” war.

Hmmph, like it doesn’t do that already?