Crossing the Rubicon: The Inevitable Emergence of Military Robots

Navy Rear Adm. Mat Winter, left, and Navy Adm. Jonathan Greenert with the Navy-sponsored Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot, Washington, Feb. 4, 2015 (Department of Defense photo).
Navy Rear Adm. Mat Winter, left, and Navy Adm. Jonathan Greenert with the Navy-sponsored Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot, Washington, Feb. 4, 2015 (Department of Defense photo).

“Fifteen years after a drone first fired missiles in combat,” journalist Josh Smith recently wrote from Afghanistan, “the U.S. military’s drone program has expanded far beyond specific strikes to become an everyday part of the war machine.” Important as this is, it is only a first step in a much bigger process. As a report co-authored in January 2014 by Robert Work and Shawn Brimley put it, “a move to an entirely new war-fighting regime in which unmanned and autonomous systems play central roles” has begun. Where this ultimately will lead is unclear. Work, who went to become the deputy […]

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