August 01, 2015

What happens with the fighting spirit of humans, if you outsource soldiering to robot soldiers and drones?

Today FT-Magazine, published in England and not in the US, included an edited version of the following letter I sent them related to an article that did appear in the US. It is somewhat strange since my letter, as you will be able to see, was foremost directed to the US.

Like drones, robots also present challenges to the national psyche of their users (“Robot soldiers”, July 18/19) – the possibility of a diminishing human fighting spirit hiding behind drones and robots. 

I think it is hard to visualise the same type of national “good feeling”, with homecoming parades and memorials, when scientists and mechanical engineers have done the real fighting. And what will be more important for the advancement of a military career in the future: knowledge about robots or knowledge about your men? Will the traditional drill sergeant just become a figure featured in History channel documentaries? 

What keeps me coming back to these issues is that 70 years ago my father was freed from a concentration camp in Germany by courageous American boots on the ground… not by drones or robots. 

Per Kurowski 
Rockville, Maryland, US