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Is there really a difference between a robot and soldier making a kill?

Special Forces are precise weapons to kill. Soldiers receive orders from someone else on the kill and they carry out the mission. Wouldn't you agree that human soldier is this sense is like a robot?

Topics: Robot warfare

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    Nov 16 2013: There's an interesting dichotomy in this thread. On the one hand, Poch sees pitting robots against human soldiers as 'cheating. On the other, Nadav sees replacing humans with robots as a good thing because it reduces human suffering.

    Rationally, its hard to disagree with Nadav. But emotionally I lean towards Poch. It does seem rather ungentlemanlyr to go into battle trying to kill enemy soldiers without entailing the same risk yourself.

    When it gets really interesting is when both sides replace humans with robots, because that shakes the very foundations of warfare. After all, why do wars exist? To try to force an opponent into submission by killing more enemy soldiers than you loose yourself or causing other forms of human suffering. If only robots are fighting, there is no loss of life or suffering, so why should one side ever surrender? I suppose a war would then become more of an technical/economic show of power, with one side loosing when it's factories are unable to produce enough robots to compensate for losses in battle.

    In fact, what would be the point of starting a war if both sides just send in robots?

    Utopic, perhaps, but maybe that will be the point at which humanity finally realises the idiocy of any form of war and disbands all its armies.....
    • Nov 16 2013: Cheating is good. If you're fighting fair, you're doing it wrong--that's how chivalrous idiots get themselves killed. When lives are on the line, anything less than pushing for every single possible advantage is nothing short of criminal neglect.
      I've seen soldiers get court marshaled for as much, in fact.

      As for a war between two armies of robots ending, no trouble at all. Once military opposition is wiped out, and the enemy still doesn't surrender, start targeting civilian infrastructure. Bridges, power plants, that sort of thing. Going after population centers is ill advised though, as that typically only strengthens the enemy's resolve.
      War is already a technological/economical display of power. With robots on both sides (or even one side), it'll just cause less people to get die for it. Victory is about breaking the enemy's will to fight; actually breaking the enemy isn't always necessary.

      My problem with robotic warfare is less about the morality of it. Its the practicality of application against an enemy with proper electronic warfare capabilities (which the recent insurgents and terrorist groups targeted by drones all lack).
      This is the real reason we won't make the transition to completely robotic forces, even when it becomes technologically feasible. Though we may end up in a situation where robots do most of the heavy lifting, and human forces are there in a supporting role (as opposed to the exact opposite we're starting to have today).

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