By Randy Roughton
“By the end of the century, there will be virtually no humans on the battlefield,” Globalsecurity.org director John Pike told The Washington Post in 2009. “Robots do what you tell them, and they don’t have to be trained.”
Pike’s prediction recently appeared again in an Armed Forces Journal article co-written by Dr. Morley Stone, chief scientist with the Air Force Research Laboratory’s 711th Human Performance Wing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. “The Autonomy Paradox,” also co-written by Jack L. Blackhurst and Dr. Jennifer S. Gresham, addressed one of the main challenges of robotic autonomy facing the military and robotic industry. Autonomous robotic systems probably won’t eliminate the problems they were designed to solve, only change the nature of those problems. The autonomy paradox, according to the article, is the systems that are designed to reduce manpower will actually require more people to support them, Stone said.