But very quickly, back to the notion of the enemy's troops being killed by our robots. Maybe it will never happen. Even if it does, maybe it's not really a fundamental change in warfare; what's the line between an "intelligent" heat-seeking missile and an "intelligent" battlefield killing robot? Maybe not an important one philosophically.
But if it were to happen, what would be the net outcome? I think it would basically mean "we can kill the enemy a little more easily now, so war is a little easier for us." Now, what's the impact
of that message at home, and what's the impact on the mindset our potential adversaries? I think there's definitely more than one answer to the latter, and it's important to consider the knowns and unknowns here.
Then we must ask ourselves point-blank: is research into the development of battlefield robots a world-peace-and-stability-enhancing or a world-peace-and-stability-degrading activity? Remember, I'm not saying "killer robots" are the only or even a probable outcome of the research. Those answers aren't fully knowable, are they? They depend on lots of decisions not yet made. My point is that developing the potential for autonomous battlefield vehicles is the nominal goal of the research, and that's what we do know, dig? Bottom line: The fact that we accept military labelling of so much of our nation's and colleague's R&D work means that we as engineers are ultimately operating under an outdated sense of social responsibility, collectively.
If we all just clap and let everyone say "wow, those robots are neeto, I wonder what kind of X...", we are blowing it. The world is not our 9th grade science fair.
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