Tuesday, January 05, 2016

The Different Flavours of Robopocalyptic Warfare

Automation is at the heart of the Pentagon’s ambitious “Third Offset Strategy,” launched last year with an anxious eye on advances in Russia and China. “China’s investing heavily in robotics and autonomy,” said the father of Offset, Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work, “and the Russian chief of General Staff, [Valeriy] Gerasimov, recently said….quote, ‘in the near future it is possible a fully robotized unit will be created capable of independently conducting military operations.’”

So there’s no question that robotic combat is coming. The question is how much input humans will still have — and different countries will take different approaches. After reporting, talking, and thinking on this topic for the past three years at Breaking Defense, I see three stark alternatives emerging. Call them Skynet, swarms, and centaurs:

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