As UK Military Begins Mass Coronavirus Testing, Head of Armed Forces Ponders Robot Soldiers

As UK Military Begins Mass Coronavirus Testing, Head of Armed Forces Ponders Robot Soldiers (



from the rise-of-the-machines dept.

Remembrance Sunday is the day of commemoration for British and Commonwealth servicemen, and the head of the British Armed Forces marked the occasion with a special interview on Sky News.

And he shared a thoughtful answer when asked whether the army might try to recruit fewer soldiers.

“[W]hat I’m hinting at is that we need to be thinking about how we measure effects in a different way. I mean I suspect we can have an army of 120,000 of which 30,000 might be robots, who knows. But the answer is we need to open our minds to perhaps numbers not determining what we should be doing but rather the effect that we can achieve, is really what we should be looking for.”

The armed forces are playing a key role in the government’s response to the pandemic, with some 2,000 personnel deployed to Liverpool to help with a mass coronavirus testing programme for the city. “I suspect if that works successfully we might find there are other areas where we need to help in a similar sort of fashion,” General Carter said. He said using the military to take over the entire coronavirus testing programme was an option but added that he had confidence in the current set-up at the moment.

The Guardian focused on the robots:
Thirty thousand “robot soldiers” could form an integral part of the British army in the 2030s, working alongside humans in and around the frontline, the head of the armed forces said in a television interview on Sunday…

All Britain’s armed forces have been engaged in a string of research projects involving small drones or remotely powered land or underwater vehicles, some of which are armed and others for reconnaissance. The Ministry of Defence says its policy is that only humans will be able to fire weapons, although there is growing concern about the potential danger of unrestricted robot warfare, led by the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots.

Technology under development includes the i9 drone, which is powered by six rotors and carries two shotguns. Remotely operated, it is intended to be used to storm buildings, typically an urban warfare situation that generates some of the highest casualties.

Why do we want intelligent terminals when there are so many stupid users?


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