Military Review

Battle robots scare experts

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has announced its intention to create an international coalition that will try to conclude a global international treaty imposing a comprehensive and proactive ban on weapons with artificial intelligence even before they are created. The company for the prohibition of military "robots-killers", which was launched in the capital of Great Britain, has already been joined by various non-governmental organizations that have previously participated in campaigns to ban cluster munitions, anti-personnel mines and blinding lasers.

Unlike remote control tanks and tankettes, torpedo boats that were tested in the Soviet Union in the 1930s, fully autonomous combat robots, activists say, will have a number of inherent flaws that can make them deadly for humanity. The most common fully autonomous systems from the past, such as the Phalanx, which shot down aircraft or missiles approaching American warships, had a rather narrow specialization, their own niche, and could hardly work due to any random factors or the civilian population.

But the new generation of combat robots, for example, the Harpy (“Harpy”) completely autonomous UAV from Israel, is much more dangerous. So far, the Harpy is looking for and destroying only radar in a fully automatic mode, firing missiles at them in the “shot-and-forget” mode. However, such UAVs are attractive for the armies of the whole world and not only because they cannot be hacked and put on their own airfield, as the Iranian military allegedly arrived in 2012 with an American drone.

Battle robots scare experts

The most important thing here is the low cost of operating combat robots. So, for example, a remote-controlled drone needs not only an expensive command and control station, in which there is a well-trained specialist working in shifts, but also jam-proof communication. In fact, in the case of small-sized UAVs, this becomes the main expenditure item. The elimination of this item of expenditure will allow countries to produce flying combat robots in thousands of series without a significant increase in the cost of their operation.

"The campaign for the prohibition of killing robots," believes that the main problem is that such machines are still imperfect. They are not able to distinguish a civilian from a terrorist, a person of one nationality from another (although in fairness it must be said that people also sin with this). At the same time, in the modern world, wars are often fought in places where just one random shot can lead to an escalation of violence. The organization is particularly concerned about the development of South Korea, which creates a special robot to patrol the border with North Korea. One mistake of such a robot can lead to a serious armed conflict. Therefore, a reasonable question arises: whether to transfer the cause of war and peace to the court of software, the adequacy and reliability of which cannot be verified without human victims.

At the same time, there are more serious questions in the world than the Korean conflict. The case of the autumn 1983 of the year, when the Soviet automatic warning system for nuclear attack “Oko” issued a series of false signals about the launch of US ballistic missiles, was widely known. Only the intervention of the operational duty officer on the Serpukhov-15 command post prevented a “retaliatory” strike. After analyzing the "launches" of the ICBM (several in a row from one point), the lieutenant colonel thought that the potential enemy was not so stupid as to start a war and be substituted for a retaliatory strike by the non-suppressed Soviet nuclear forces. How could this situation end if the “Eye” system was completely autonomous?

Here we talked about a possible nuclear war, but there are also much more prosaic examples. For example, in 2007, a tragic incident occurred in the army of South Africa, 9 soldiers were killed, and 14 people received various injuries. The culprit of the tragedy was the automatic anti-aircraft gun of the Swiss-German production Oerlikon GDF-005. This gun is equipped with active and passive radars, a laser target designation system and can fire at fast low-flying targets, such as helicopters, airplanes, cruise missiles and UAVs. In automatic mode, two 35-mm rapid-fire guns are used.

During the exercise, this installation failed several times until it was decided to fix it manually with a cable and metal fasteners. But at some point, the fasteners could not stand it, and the installation barrels began to send out half-kilogram shells to the right and left. The gun was silenced, only having spent all the ammunition - 500 shells. Then Brigadier General Quen Mangop, a representative of the South African army, said that the reasons for the failure remained unknown. According to him, perhaps the problem could have a mechanical nature. However, a number of experts pointed to a computer malfunction, in this case it is not possible to establish the cause of the tragedy.

All this looks even more depressing against the background of the increasingly emerging reports about the creation of the next combat robot. Not long ago, the United States Air Force conducted test flights of an X-47B drone drone taking off from the deck of an aircraft carrier and capable of performing a combat mission without human assistance. At the same time, the Patriot-type air defense missile systems have been around for quite a while, which are able to recognize the target and open fire completely in automatic mode. To create a fully autonomous combat vehicle, it remains only to take a few steps. Such robots can take on many human functions, forever changing our understanding of warfare.

Currently, the laboratory of the Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Professor Henrik Christensen, is testing a robot that is designed to find insurgents who operate by guerrilla methods. These studies are funded by the well-known defense corporation BAE. The main goal of this project is to create a robot that is capable of conducting a study of the terrain on which the enemy has taken shelter, put the locations of its possible location on the map and collect other information that would help in planning military operations. Such robots do not carry any weapons, their main goal is to collect intelligence information.

Future military technology expert Pete Singer, who works at the Brookings Institution in Washington, believes that the emergence of combat robots on the battlefield will raise many fundamental questions. Periodically in stories military equipment there comes a time when there is a thing that leads to a complete change in the situation, the expert notes. For example, it was already with the invention of gunpowder, the appearance of a machine gun, a nuclear weapons, computers. Fighting robots can also be a revolutionary technology. However, their appearance does not mean that everything will change - from combat tactics to questions of law, ethics and politics.

American Jody Williams, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for organizing a campaign in favor of banning anti-personnel mines, believes that the fighting robots that are being created can eventually become a deadly weapon. According to her, such neutral terms for the human ear as “autonomous combat systems” are quite deceptive. According to her, it is more logical to call them killer robots, since killing people is their main task.

At the same time, Ronald Arkin, a professor at the Institute of Technology in Atlanta, thinks otherwise. Arkin is the author of the concept of the combat system, which is controlled by the so-called ethical controller. Such combat robots are programmed to follow the rules of engagement and the principles of international law. According to Ronald Arkin, everyone shouts and horrified: “Robots are villains, robots are killers!”. But at the present time, people acting on the battlefield do terrible things. Rigidity was the companion of all wars on the planet, the professor said. Arkin believes that the use of technical means will reduce the number of losses among the civilian population, which is in the conflict zone.

Currently, in addition to the United States, about 76 countries around the world have their own programs to create combat robots, the scientist said. Nowadays, for a couple of hundred dollars, it is already possible to buy a UAV, which 2 had already been classified a year ago. Such technologies are spreading fairly quickly and on a global scale. An example of this is the use of UAVs, which are used for delivering pinpoint strikes on previously selected objects, including people. Currently, the use of unmanned percussion apparatus in Afghanistan and Pakistan is already causing debate in the global community. With the proliferation of combat robots, such debates will inevitably turn into the area of ​​ethical principles of their use.

So maybe fighting robots are not needed at all? What are they produced for? The fact is that with the advent of mass armies, the effectiveness of the actions of an individual soldier plummeted. The soldiers of some 5-East Siberian regiment during the Russian-Japanese war, holding Jingzhou, hit the enemy about 1 times from several dozen rifle shots. At the same time, already in the First and Second World Wars, the average number of shots per hit rose to 10 000 - 50 000. If it is quite simple - most of the soldiers in the mass armies simply did not know how to shoot, and more than 95% of the commanders of the major armies of the world never even saw their subordinates use the sights on their rifles.

A similar situation began to be observed in artillery and other types of troops. So on the Eastern Front for every killed Wehrmacht soldier of the USSR spent about 100 artillery shells and mines. With the same "efficiency" the American military personnel disposed of their ammunition during World War II and during the Vietnam War. The numerical growth of soldiers and the rapid progress of military technology in the twentieth century was accompanied by a decrease in the training of those who were trusted with this weapon.

At the same time, autonomous combat robots are already shooting as well as software, weather and weapons allow. And this means that their participation in hostilities, after the completion of software development, will lead to very large losses of personnel of the side that will be deprived of such robots. To present the outcome of this confrontation is easy enough. If now the armies of Western countries are not able to stay in Iraq or Afghanistan for a long time, since their political leadership will miserably leave their posts with significant combat losses, then after the introduction of combat robots, the stay of the occupation troops in various regions of the world will practically unlimited. The victims of countries whose armies are equipped with such robots will almost completely cease to be combat, they will be comparable only with the number of corpses left by the terrorist attacks - the only weapon left in the hands of militants.

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  1. smart ass
    smart ass 28 May 2013 08: 39
    For every American robot there is a Taliban with RPG7
    1. feanor
      feanor 28 May 2013 09: 21
      Here it will be almost the same as with tanks, an RPG shell is much cheaper than such a robot, especially since robots are unlikely to have the same armor as a tank, while the dimensions will most likely be very large. Yes, and everyone probably watched the terminator, and so at one fine moment, most likely everything will be so.
      1. Petrix
        Petrix 28 May 2013 10: 16
        Quote: feanor
        It will be almost the same as with tanks

        Not the same at all. Have you seen the "terminator"? Small, you can't take a bullet, smart, does not get tired, on-line with a UAV, sees in different spectra. You can't get close to this with an RPG, but you can also miss a tank.
        And the prohibitions do not bother anyone. Have ceased to do and improve anti-personnel mines and chemical weapons?
        1. feanor
          feanor 28 May 2013 12: 03
          Quote: Petrix
          Not the same at all. Have you seen the "terminator"? Small, you can't take a bullet, smart, does not get tired, on-line with a UAV, sees in different spectra. You can't get close to this with an RPG, but you can also miss a tank.
          And the prohibitions do not bother anyone. Have ceased to do and improve anti-personnel mines and chemical weapons?

          You need to watch less fiction, at the moment there are no such technologies for combat robots, now you can get big, clumsy, expensive cars that will only be a target. We will see what they look like in the future, tanks at the beginning of their journey were also clumsy and enormous, technologies will develop and maybe someday we will see those vehicles that you describe.
      2. Ghenxnumx
        Ghenxnumx 28 May 2013 16: 35
        I was struck by the comparison of the USSR and the USA
        Quote: Author Sergey Yuferev
        So on the Eastern Front, for every killed Wehrmacht soldier, the USSR spent about 100 artillery shells and mines. With the same "efficiency" American troops disposed of their ammunition during World War II and during the Vietnam War.
        where only the author of facts jerked am - mustache in Vietnam used up 14 million tons of ammunition against 13.6 million tons (5.6 million tons Germany and 8.0 million tons of the USSR, more details here the consumption of ammunition during the entire WWII - compare the scale as they say - article "-" negative
      3. Yves762
        Yves762 29 May 2013 01: 33
        It will be almost the same as with tanks, an RPG shell is much cheaper than such a robot
        - not to mention the Taliban ...
    2. T-100
      T-100 28 May 2013 13: 43
      Skynet will be merciless to us, aaaaaa!
      1. feanor
        feanor 28 May 2013 13: 54
        Well, something like that laughing
      2. Mizhgan
        Mizhgan 28 May 2013 14: 03
        , a shotgun to help you ... with jacquards ...
      3. APASUS
        APASUS 28 May 2013 22: 15
        Quote: T-100
        Skynet will be merciless to us,

        I can imagine how a combat robot before a shot can read you the Miranda Rule!
        The processors there have completely moved out ....... ??
        Ronald Arkin, a professor at the Atlanta Institute of Technology, thinks otherwise. Arkin is the author of the concept of a combat system, which is controlled by the so-called ethical controller. Such combat robots are programmed so that they must follow the rules of warfare and the principles of international law.
    3. The comment was deleted.
    4. LaGlobal
      LaGlobal 28 May 2013 16: 51
      But unfortunately, or perhaps, fortunately, we should also strive for this! And the faster - the better! Since, if a real war occurs, you can save people ... my thought is this.
  2. vladsolo56
    vladsolo56 28 May 2013 08: 44
    An interesting trend, Western human rights activists are making a fuss, the UN is banning the use of weapons of a certain category, there is only one problem, the United States wanted to spit on the bans. Recent years have shown that only weak countries carry out bans, while NATO countries believe that they can do anything, there are no bans for them.
  3. rereture
    rereture 28 May 2013 09: 04
    US wants to be a monopolist
  4. Kubatai
    Kubatai 28 May 2013 09: 04
    The Russian Empire at one time proposed not to develop automatic firearms. Then he had to meet the enemy with a Mosin rifle and actively catch up with the enemy while developing his automatic weapon. Unfortunately, we are now far behind the Americans in this direction (combat robots), and the future is for these robots.
    1. Hort
      Hort 28 May 2013 12: 49
      the first automatic rifle kakbe appeared in our country - Fedorov designed it.
      I’m silent about the USSR in general - after the Finnish they learned the benefits of PP.
      And by the way, the Germans in 41, too, were far from all without exception with "Schmeissers". This is only shown in the movies
    2. Maks111
      Maks111 29 May 2013 12: 19
      meet the enemy with a Mosin rifle
      Just let’s do without it. The Wehrmacht in the Second World War also fought with rifles, and only tankers, officers and paratroopers had machine guns. This is only in Soviet films, Germans with machine guns are all.
  5. Dima190579
    Dima190579 28 May 2013 09: 09
    That will increase the prestige of the profession of a military programmer and hacker.
  6. Petrix
    Petrix 28 May 2013 10: 20
    It will be. Good people do not have time to remake the evil. Only after passing the next test will civilization either die out or become wiser.
  7. FunkschNNX
    FunkschNNX 28 May 2013 10: 21
    Woe from the mind.
  8. Mizhgan
    Mizhgan 28 May 2013 10: 37
    To date, drones have not yet reached the perfection, as in some science fiction films. Set false targets, traps as thermal, moving, electronic, silhouettes and their combinations, etc. It’s not difficult, but how to destroy drones, so it’s even easier. Drones can sow panic among the civilian population, but not the military. And this is a good reason to strike back in the traditional way.
  9. Apostle
    Apostle 28 May 2013 11: 26
    The farther into the forest the more draw ... new =)
    The wars of the future promise to be more and more interesting ...
  10. Gunship
    Gunship 28 May 2013 12: 10
    So far, the RPG is deciding. Yes, and DShK, Kord and other means of destruction of armored and not very technology no one canceled.
  11. Gorinich
    Gorinich 28 May 2013 12: 23
    The shield and sword are constantly being improved. Future conflicts and wars should be planned as if the mechanical killers were already in operation. An example is in full view of everyone, drones began to be used immediately and almost massively. (Now everyone is trying to rivet them).
  12. Specialsog
    Specialsog 28 May 2013 12: 24
    where did the last picture come from, tell me please
  13. spirit
    spirit 28 May 2013 13: 35
    Why did you get the idea that all combat robots will be the size of a tank ?! I think there will be many different modifications from small to large connected by one network, some will recognize others to eliminate, others to clear the area (just fit like a terminator), and a fighter with RPGs can kill a robot like this baby, only with poison, or will you shoot at her from RPGs too?
    1. Mizhgan
      Mizhgan 28 May 2013 13: 52
      I will answer for the addressee ...
      This baby can only be eliminated within a radius of 50 meters, and then on condition that you are completely naked, and if you have a flashlight nearby, ??? or a hot mug of coffee ??? or .... Know, for every mosquito in cartoon bucks, there is a response from Russia of 300 bucks an answer ... Or even cheaper ... An ordinary fly swatter from a stick and rubber or just a newspaper, worth 5 cents, where the cost is even not in the cost of materials, but in the work of the robot that destroys this type of itself ... I think that this type is unlikely to be noiseless ... like mosquitoes, it will squeak in a peculiar way, so the smaller the robot the more expensive, At X ... I’m all...
      1. Mizhgan
        Mizhgan 28 May 2013 13: 58
        And yet, answer the cost in the data for 30 years of this mosquito .... An ordinary mosquito net will provide security for at least 20-25 years, or even less.
        1. postman
          postman 28 May 2013 19: 13
          Quote: Mijgan
          . A regular mosquito net will provide security for at least 20-25 years, or even less.

          Try to fight with ants, wasps, malaria mosquitoes.
          While humanity is losing. No chance.
          And if there are a LOT of them (an infamous in the taiga)?
          but about the cost ...
          The GPS chip is now less than $ 2,5 / piece.
          Decrease in the chip production price from time and size of the substrate (plate)

          It will be the same with micro (nano) robots.
          Stanisclaw Lem (cruiser "Invincible", as a trifle defeated the Cyclops)
  14. The comment was deleted.
  15. spirit
    spirit 28 May 2013 14: 44
    ))))) I gave this midge as an example, in order to indicate where the development vector is directed, I’m sure there will be caterpillars and fleas and many other living creatures made of plastic and metal, all this while the prototypes will increase both the radius and the battery. what about the mosquito net winked , well, I imagine the Taliban leading the battle where the thread in the desert in a mosquito net, swamps, an amy generator behind and AK47! Yes, there robots will not help, all the enemies themselves will run away from what they saw laughing
    1. krot00f
      krot00f 28 May 2013 15: 33
      Tactical nuclear weapons look more plausible.
    2. postman
      postman 28 May 2013 22: 35
      Quote: spirit
      ))))) I gave this midge as an example, in order to indicate where the development vector is directed,

      More realistic (and within 10 years we will implement) the version described in the novel by Michael CRICHTON "PREY"

      A bit boring, but I recommend reading

      "In the next fifty to one hundred years, a new class is likely to appear
      organisms. These will be artificial organisms - in the sense that
      they were originally designed and created by man. Nonetheless to them
      the ability to reproduce will be inherent, they will evolve into
      something different from its original form; they will be alive in the full sense
      of this word ... Evolutionary changes will occur incredibly quickly ...
      The impact on humanity and the biosphere can be huge, much
      more significant than the impact of the industrial revolution, nuclear weapons
      and environmental pollution. We must now take steps to
      in order to control the spread of artificial
      organisms ...

      The Coming Evolution "in" Artificial Life II ", edited by C G Langton, C
      Taylor, JD Farmer, and S Rasmundssen Santa Fe Studies in the Sciences of
      Complexity, Proc Vol X, Redwood City, Calif Addison-Wesley, 1992, p 815>
  16. lonshakovpetr
    lonshakovpetr 28 May 2013 21: 04
    Time will tell yes
  17. No_more
    No_more 19 June 2013 14: 32
    A combat robot is a way to evade responsibility. Too this is an effective and trouble-free tool to dictate your will. If a soldier has fatigue, conscience, fear and relatives who do not want him to fight, then the robot does not.
    We need an effective and cheap means of mass incapacitation of combat robots, such as weapons of mass destruction for robots. They wouldn’t forbid him from disguising themselves as humanism in order to fight fearlessly.
  18. flashkaa
    flashkaa 28 June 2013 21: 38
    People live and kill each other for millennia, but could he have long lived in a world that would give people the more advanced technologies that are now. Just think, how many years do we kill each other’s friend and share the earth, but if you would spend all this time on the development of science? Now they would have mastered the galaxies and flew through the vastness of the universe! Human anger and mania of power greatly inhibits the development of mankind!
  19. Gonoriy
    Gonoriy April 26 2016 13: 47
    Prohibit combat robots? Absurdity. The only question is when enough perfect samples appeared. Throughout history, starting with a crossbow, new weapons were banned and the result is always the same.