February 01, 2014
Driverless Trucks Against IEDs

An article in Wired: Driverless Trucks Will Keep Army Safe From IEDs.

This is an important example of the upper hand that capital is gaining over labor as a result of Moore's Law doublings of computer power and great improvements in algorithms. The most important upper hand in this case isn't the ability of automation to replace soldiers. Rather, it is the gradual undermining of the advantages of poor but highly motivated insurgencies. Low tech and low income insurgents are going to have a much harder time because the equipment deployed by a wealthier and more technologically adfvanced competitor will out fight them. Plus, the hegemon they will fight against won't have to worry about high casualty rates turning public opinion back home against a war.

The US Army thinks it can cut human staffing of a brigade by a quarter with robots and other forms of automation. If you want a career in the US Army then learn robot repair.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2014 February 01 10:47 PM 


Comments
Engineer-Poet said at February 2, 2014 12:33 PM:

This works, until someone figures out a way to hack the robots.  Supply convoys turn into piled-up infernos or even go to the black marketers, while armed robots shoot their own troops.

Imagine having a large part of the fighting force down until the patch is released, and there's no backup because the manpower isn't there.

Nick G said at February 2, 2014 9:16 PM:

It has always seemed to me that this kind of automation will only help insurgencies. After all, right now they need volunteers willing to die to deliver bombs via vests and cars. With this tech, they only need a smart car, or drone.

Nick G said at February 2, 2014 9:24 PM:

It has always seemed to me that this kind of automation will only help insurgencies. After all, right now they need volunteers willing to die to deliver bombs via vests and cars. With this tech, they only need a smart car, or drone.

James Bowery said at February 2, 2014 9:43 PM:

Silicon fabs are soft targets.

Brett Bellmore said at February 3, 2014 2:45 AM:

"Plus, the hegemon they will fight against won't have to worry about high casualty rates turning public opinion back home against a war."

At least until they've removed labor from the original production process, they still have to worry about it if the war IS back home. Which is my real concern, much as I dislike our nation getting into foreign wars.

ivvenalis said at February 3, 2014 1:55 PM:

Considering some of the garbage I've seen the Army pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for and the state and cost of consumer electonics, insurgencies will probably just keep using equipment that's 50-90% as effective for 1-10% of the cost.

Mark Bahner said at February 3, 2014 8:01 PM:

"The US Army thinks it can cut human staffing of a brigade by a quarter with robots and other forms of automation."

Why can't the Army be rendered completely obsolete by weaponized drone aircraft?

Mark Bahner said at February 3, 2014 8:56 PM:

Some tidbits about weaponized drones via wonderful Wikipedia:

Unit cost of an MQ-1 Predator = $4 million; number built = 75 (previously, 285 RQ-1 Predators were built).

Unit cost of an MQ-2 Reaper = $17 million; number built = 104.

And from the Barnard Microsytems website, the cost of ScanEagle surveillance drones are less than $100,000 each.

So 10,000 MQ-1 Predators would cost $40 billion. And 500,000 ScanEagle surveillance drones would be $50 billion. Assuming that the total number of enemy in Afghanistan is less than 500,000, for under $100 billion capital cost you could have a surveillance aircraft for every single enemy, and a Predator MQ-1 for every 50 enemy.

Derek Brown said at February 11, 2014 5:47 PM:

I would sooner see robots getting damaged than humans. If you have to be in this situation to begin with bring on the robots

Post a comment
Comments:
Name (not anon or anonymous):
Email Address:
URL:
Remember info?

                       
Go Read More Posts On FuturePundit
Site Traffic Info
The contents of this site are copyright