Wars without humans

President Bush and the US military want to win their wars of the future with combat robots

Before the fighting in Afghanistan, the catastrophe of Vietnam and the long unsuccessful war of the Soviet Union were cited as cautionary examples to evoke the unpredictability of the Allied campaign in the Hindu Kush. In particular, the self-appointed "Military Advisors" in the political editorial offices historical comparisons with armies from all Herren Lander, which had gritted their teeth in Afghanistan, were used. The fight in the mountains was presented as a military horror of the impregnability of this impassable stretch of land. In fact, the war against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, including the deployment, has taken only months so far and is apparently nearing its end. The use of better perception systems and more efficient weapons is crucial for the acceleration of not only this war.

The central feature of the new warfare is an ever-increasing degree of technology dependency, accompanied by an ever-decreasing use of human actors. The era of the Levee en masse is long gone; the massing of people and materiel is considered a largely closed chapter of war history.

The robotization, i. H. The dehumanization of war, in order to spare human lives on this side of the front, was already initiated in Vietnam with unmanned aerial vehicles, which served observation purposes. Unmanned drones of the type "Pioneer", which sent video images of the Gulf War via GPS (Global Positioning System) and autopilot, followed. But only with over 50 Predator missions in the Kosovo conflict in 1999 was this type of weapon accepted by the military as a relevant instrument of the desired sovereignty of perception. "Global Hawk", currently the most sophisticated unmanned surveillance aircraft with an intercontinental range of up to 42 hours of operation, can track whether a heat-responsive projectile is in its path in order to change its trajectory and disengage coders to divert the attacking projectile from its deadly course. Such systems have various types of onboard sensors, such as lasers, infrared beams and television cameras, which collect data, feed it to computers, and then analyze the information tactically. In Afghanistan, moreover, the "Predator" was successfully deployed, which is much deeper than "Global Hawk" fliegen kann und Realtime-Video-Bilder von Bodenzielen liefert (Aufklarung uber bin Ladin).

But the new buzzword is "weaponizing UVs" (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), i.E.H. The road leads from unmanned perception systems to destruction systems. Thus in Afghanistan the "Predator" rusted with Hellfire anti-tank missiles to the Hollenfeuerkampfdrohne. The path of what tends to be fully automatic destruction leads from gentle weather machines to more robust systems that can withstand fierce weather, sandstorms or snowstorms, their "fighting spirit" not lose (robot wars). With the collapse of the Taliban’s air defenses and the onset of winter, the Pentagon has also successfully deployed the "E-8 Joint STAR" a modified Boeing 707 with a radar system that can guide ground vehicles 124 miles in all weather conditions.

Unmanned vehicles are intended to reduce the tactical uncertainties for soldiers on the battlefield, not to depend on the limited suffering of human combatants and thus to save precious manpower "manpower" The loss of which in sensitive civil societies could become a political dagger for the warlords.

The tendency to spare the lives of soldiers to the detriment of other species, however, is not an invention of the first war of the 21st century. Century. From hungry battle crocodiles deposited in protective trenches by Byzantines and Egyptians to catapult-launched clay pots in which aggressive scorpions and snakes awaited biting foes, war history abounds with bizarre notions of throwing animals into battle as unwilling combatants.

Until recently, however, robotic systems enjoyed, "Biomechanoids" and other systems that were no longer exclusively controlled by humans did not find much sympathy with the military because of the institutionalized prejudice that no machine was as efficient as a human being. With the successful missions in Kosovo and especially now in Afghanistan, however, the military’s desire for non-human combat missions is growing again. Particularly with regard to fighting terror with biological or chemical weapons, the trend in the Pentagon is clearly to entrust these hateful fronts largely to machines in the future.

Pentagon and defense contractors, after successful air operations with new robotic armies, now want to conquer all other elements of the battlefield after air. President Bush, the innovative war president for the time being, has recognized the signs of the times and is giving greater importance to unmanned combat vehicles in all dimensions of the combat zone.

The most difficult terrain for the deployment of such systems remains the ground. For a long time, the many potential obstacles to movement on the ground have not been eliminated. According to the experts, the most difficult task is to estimate trenches, because it is difficult for unmanned systems to determine whether a depression in the ground is a few meters or kilometers deep. And he who digs a pit for others could eventually fall into it himself. Den computergesteuerten Systemen muss daher eine Vielzahl von moglichen Gelandesituationen, Unwegsamkeiten und Losungsmoglichkeiten einprogammiert werden, bis sie so gelandegangig werden wie von Menschen gesteuerte Fahrzeuge.

Fur den Bodeneinsatz werden fur die US-Army vornehmlich Fahrzeuge geplant, die Beobachtungszwecken und der Munitionsversorgung dienen. Some are also said to be able to raise a smoke screen and blind the approaching enemy. In the rough, the prototypes vary from vehicles a bit smaller than a VW Kafer to the rough of a full-blown tank, transforming the army into a flexible, especially fast-acting force. An important chapter of the effectuation of such systems, which is still waiting for enlightenment, is the energy supply. Since batteries for electric propulsion do not last too long, new energy supply technologies are also considered a matter for the bosses.

The military’s antiquated reliance on heavy tanks and artillery has long come under fire from military critics. Particularly in the war on terrorism, as in other forms of "low intensity conflict" such equipment is much too heavy, because it is not designed for use in urban thickets or in the rough terrain of Afghan mountains and elsewhere, but is reserved for more or less open field combat. After that, non-human micro-warriors with macro-effects were allowed to reappear on the military’s list of priorities (cf. Mini Robots for Tomorrow’s Battlefield). For example, work is being done on micro airplanes that are smaller than a dragonfly and can operate particularly inconspicuously as flying spy robots. For snipers and hostage-takers, life could become dangerous if they are observed by a helicopter weighing 0.5 g, for example, which itself eludes perception.

The U.S. Navy has turned to "biomimetics" combat robots that are modeled on sea creatures and, like crustaceans, simulate their typical forms of locomotion. The use of sea creatures is an old condition of war, as evidenced by dolphins as the military’s biological sonar systems, for example. In 1942, the Swedes even worked on a project to destroy German submarines with mined seals. Also "Robo lobster", a ten-pound, 2.5-fub techno-lobster, is not afraid of suicide missions "suicide missions" back. In the new (sub)marine combat scenarios, it is supposed to appear in droves to find mines and nestle there. Then a signal is transmitted into the water, all Robothummers explode at the same time and destroy the mines. The Navy tests its underwater robots in strong currents and other adverse underwater conditions. If Navy planners have their way, the eight-legged underwater robot with sensors that can not only see but also smell will begin its mine-clearing mission on dangerous coastlines around 2010. The combat danger of "Robo lobster" heibt "Robo crab", an electronic crustacean that represents the new avant-garde of the robotic armies of the future. It death-defyingly climbs onto the beach and sends soldiers images of what awaits them when they step onto the beach.

"These unmanned vehicles give humans more eyes and ears," Charles Thorpe, director of the industry-leading Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, praises the high-explosive to semi-intelligent toy. In the long term, a whole techno-zoo of robots is to be developed, which will be able to interpret combat situations more quickly and reduce the dangers to the wetware in close cooperation with classical equipment "Man" Reduce. The U.S. Army is working on a comprehensive "Future Combat System," in which lighter and less armed vehicles are to play an increasingly coarse role. Here in particular, however, the objectives can only be achieved with robots if the lives of soldiers are not to be put at risk.

A recent Army test of four land robots developed by General Dynamics at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania, sent them on their way through the bumpy Appalachian foothills to complete various obstacle courses, became the acid test. They had to find their way through thick undergrowth, across a tree-lined road, and even avoid a powerful obstacle that was meant to distract the jeep-like machines from the right path of their battle mission. The attempts were so successful that various procrastinators of the military now had to realize that one is nearer to the goal of the automatic battlefield than it was assumed up to now. In begrenzter Zahl sollen diese System gegen 2004/2005 in die Schlacht geworfen werden.

But even that might be a manifestation of such wars, which do not want to depend long on human failings and machinations. Die genannten Terminatoren und Automatenaufklarer sind langst nicht das Ende militarischer Wahrnehmungs- und Vernichtungsfantasien. In the visions of Darpa (Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency), the American avant-garde of futuristic military planning, hundreds of thousands of tiny sensors are already flying over the battlefield as perception pollen, and these quantities of data could only be meaningfully processed by systems of artificial intelligence, such as the Darpa techno-warriors are now trying to develop in numerous projects of transhuman temporal domination (How is the weather, asks the computer).

Darpa is beginning to lose faith in the idea that man can still be a useful cog in the raging war machine. Will the combat zone be expanded in the future in such a way that the existing man-machine interfaces will be replaced by fully autonomous machine aggressors, who will infinitely surpass the ideal of the disciplined warrior, whose combat virtues are suspended in a well-practiced military machine? From the automatic machine gun to the comprehensive automaton war, this military logic follows a time logic that no longer wants to afford its own death times. Instantaneous war is not synchronized with human reaction times, but its specific form of inhumanity is much more abstract: it detaches humans from experiential contexts and places them in the atopia of a world they can no longer understand.

There is no doubt that Asimov’s robot laws do not apply to the aggressive military automatons that will follow in advanced form. The commandment of non-injury to humans by machines remains science fiction – but ironically not based on a technology that cannot be realized, but on an illusionary ethics. Above all, the decision about death and life, about the question whether prisoners should be taken or whether the enemy should rather be exterminated, is no longer decided exclusively by humans, but by machines. Here it becomes clear that the invocations of humane war do not become any truer through the new Terminators, but are finally exposed as transparent propaganda. The hope that cybernetics can actually become the cyber-ethics (Heinz von Foerster) of a humane society is completely buried with the visions of fully automated wars.

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