[ExI] Our Ageing World

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Sun Aug 14 17:03:14 UTC 2016

On 2016-08-14 16:18, BillK wrote:
> Drones don't win wars. They create more enemies / terrorists than they 
> destroy. You need (robot) boots on the ground to win wars. 

I used to argue with a classmate who planned to become a military 
officer that the future was automation, drones and war fought by nerds 
in front of computer. He disagreed, saying "you will always need a guy 
with a rifle".

I now think he actually was right (darn, I owe Major Westerdahl an 
apology!) Military force is not just about being able to kill or 
threaten to kill people, it is to be able to implement or threaten 
coercive and social power. You cannot at present occupy someplace 
without the guys with rifles. A smart occupation replaces part of the 
old leadership with your leadership, and you use the underlying social 
structure (including police and army) to implement your goals, but you 
still need a bunch of people that can implement the right social and 
coercive pressure to do it.

Which leads to a real question for the list: what are the technological 
requirements for being able to do this remotely? It seems that you would 
either need some form of telepresence system creating "infantry drones", 
or AI running them. In both cases the infantry drones must be able to 
function inside buildings, have enough sensory acuity to notice things, 
have the ability to interact at least to some extent with people, be 
able to use force in a graduated form (if the only option is to shoot 
people when you are trying to stop a possibly domestic quarrel, you are 
going to be in trouble soon).

It seems to me that analysing these requirements would give some 
interesting data on how far we are from useful robot-enhanced occupation 

Dr Anders Sandberg
Future of Humanity Institute
Oxford Martin School
Oxford University

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