Thursday, 25 April 2013

Robot Wars

I saw on the Sky news a couple of days ago, a discussion regarding whether it should be acceptable or even allowed, for countries to create robot, killing machines.  I do not mean the present type of human controlled drones; they were discussing the Terminator type robot.  The man discussing this wanted an outright ban on ever trying to create Terminator type, robot, killing machines, and I have to agree with him.  The female Sky presenter was trying in vain to put forward the argument that there should at least be a discussion and that since at present we were not close to creating such a machine, what harm could it do.  She tried to argue that perhaps it would save lives and stop needless deaths of soldiers.  What a load of bollocks.

“Listen, and understand.  That terminator is out there.  It can't be bargained with.  It can't be reasoned with.  It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear.  And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.” – Kyle Reese

This is what might happen should one of the big weapons manufactures produce a viable Terminator.  Firstly, at present if the power situation was the same as today, an American company would probably be the first to produce a viable working Terminator, so the US armed forces would want it immediately.  In fact, I bet they are at present spending mega bucks trying to solve this problem before anyone else.  As with their drones, the US armed forces would be the main purchasers of the US version of the Terminator.  Obviously, America’s main allies would want some too, so Britain, of course we would need them, and whoever else the Americans deem worthy.  Perhaps countries with a less than savoury government might end up with some, I can think of a few of them.  The US would use them in the field against whomever they are pissed off with at the time, and then the whole world would see the effectiveness of Terminator US.

Immediately, the Chinese, Russians, and any other major force at the time would strive to create their versions.  The Germans, Japanese, perhaps even Britain would create a version of the robot, or even parts of a robot, and so initially, we would see a small arms race involving Terminator robots.  Every major power would want to create a quicker, stronger, more powerful, more intelligent Terminator Robot.  They might prove too expensive for one country so the allies might group together to create one and you can guess the rest.

Despots, dictators, and military juntas would use them against their own populations as crowd control.  Fewer soldiers may die once these metal beasts were unleashed on the world, but it would likely decimate civilian populations.

The less scrupulous nations might become a little cocky, and see an incursion against another country as viable, since no soldiers would be lost.  The Russians might take back countries like Chechnya, the Chinese might move on the Siamese peninsula.  North Korea attacks South Korea, war is now like a game of Risk.  Initially it all seems like a success, until someone gets greedy.

If you want to see it from the perspective of a business executive from a large weapons manufacturer – hey it’s now big business making Terminators, the more countries that have them the more profit they make.  Small wars become larger wars there are still few casualties and it might end in a peaceful settlement.  Everyone thinks this is the way to settle differences in the future, machine against machine. 

Unfortunately, nothing was lost or gained, and the whole point of war is either to gain something or not to lose something else.  It might be land, resources, power, influence, whatever it is, robots fighting robots is always likely to end in stalemate, unless one side has more robots than the other.  If one side has more, then the losing side is still going to have to use soldiers to continue the fight.  Perhaps robots, with the latest microchips would beat older models, and that is the deciding factor.  Eventually it would all lead to human deaths, and they would escalate.  Deaths to civilians would intensify, Terminators would only kill, they would have no empathy towards the human lives lost.  If a country sends in its legions of killing machines, I am sure their programming would not distinguish between human and killing machine.

Eventually the war would escalate as more and more of these Terminators are used, attacks on the countries supplying the machines would be next - the makers of body parts, the microchips, where would it all end.  Legions of metal killing machines start to parachute from the skies all across the world - no country is safe.  Terminator planes would destroy cities.  The only way to stop the madness is to turn to nuclear weapons, small yield tactical warheads powerful enough to take out the cities creating the Terminator machines.  Then all hell really breaks loose.

Yeah it’s a doom and gloom scenario, and perhaps we would see sense long before it got that bad and we would have to go through some kind of Terminator armistice.  However, why make them in the first place; it can only lead to one possible outcome – death.

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