“Robots will figure prominently in the future of warfare, whether we like it or not,” Matt Armstrong writes in the latest issue of Serviam:
They will provide perimeter security, logistics, surveillance, explosive ordinance disposal, and more because they fit strategic, operational, and tactical requirements for both the irregular and “traditional” warfare of the future. While American policymakers have finally realized that the so-called “war on terror” is a war of ideas and a war of information, virtually all reports on unmanned systems ignore the substantial impact that “warbots” will have on strategic communications, from public diplomacy to psychological operations.
In other words, how will our friends and allies perceive U.S. war ‘bots? The potential for trouble is great:
Without capable information management from the strategic to the tactical level, accidents and failures of unmanned systems will receive harsh treatment in the global media, amplifying an endemic view in the Middle East and elsewhere that the United States commoditizes death. The United States cannot afford technological failures or induced failures (i.e., hacking) that kill civilians.
Problem is, much of the world already associates U.S. military robots with death, thanks to the use of Predator drones as aerial assassins in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia — and the military has no plans to scale back these sneaky, lethal attacks.