Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Violent Droid

Kristanna Loken as the luscious - and extremely dangerous - T-X cyborg in the movie Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

I have said many times that although advanced AI droid technology will have the capability to be quite dangerous, even lethal, they will not be inherently motivated to do so; in fact, they will in almost all cases exhaust every possibility in resolving a situation without resorting to the use of violence. This is because once violence begins, it is difficult to control, and droids will want to keep a situation from getting out of hand, both for the safety of its human owner(s), and to avoid large legal liability issues for its manufacturers.

However, there are at least a couple of situations where violence will not only be a common occurrence for a droid, but part of their design objectives:
- the droid as soldier
- the droid as bodyguard

The introduction of droids/robots into the field of the battle will be formidable enough for its human opponents, even when these early droids are metal men.

Visions of Terminator come to mind, as these metallic cyborgs, expressionless, dispatch their duties with grim efficiency. Bear in mind, they will likely be just as tough to kill as the terminators in the movies. (well, the kind that Arnold plays, the older model, not talking about the more fanciful, liquid metal versions)

As frightening and formidable as these devices will be, they don't begin to compare to the mind-bending realities on the ground of introducing hyperrealistically human droids onto the battlefield.

Some advantages of the hyperrealistically human "soldier" droid:
- As an occupying force, they can be made to resemble the occupied population, minimizing racial tensions

- They will be able to recognize each other without using things like matching uniforms. therefore, they can blend, chameleon-like, into the occupied country, a tactic used against our current forces all the time now by guerrilla and terrorist opponents.

- They will be far less fodder for propaganda, because (apparent) humans fighting humans is better than the public relations nightmare of "terminators" fighting humans.

As elsewhere, it will not be just droids in the field, but a mixture of humans and droids. Over time, the numbers of humans will steadily reduce, and occupy strategic command positions (assisted by their own droids, of course, to successfully evaluate strategic options, understand patterns on the ground, etc).

On the droid-enabled battlefield:
- Friendly fire in the fog of war should plummet drastically
- Every one of these devices will have the skills of the best sniper, delivered with the rapidity if necessary of Clint Eastwood in his spaghetti westerns
- They will be exceedingly fluent in the native tongue of the occupied land, making intelligence gathering and communication far easier than now

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