Will Tomorrow’s Wars Be Fought by Robots?

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Published May 12, 2022, 10:46 PM

Artificial intelligence and autonomous systems are poised to change the battlefield, and with it, soldiers themselves. Today, the human cost of war is high. Will that be true of tomorrow’s wars, or will humans be removed from the front lines, left to orchestrate surgical drone strikes and autonomous technology behind the scenes?

And what about the soldiers themselves? Today, pilots are operating drones from the other side of the world, but they’re still reporting high levels of trauma. Will reducing the humans involved in combat also reduce the humanity that should govern it? Can modern soldiers be both ethical and effective? And how will emerging technologies such as AI and robotics affect human soldiering?

This week, ‘What Happens Next?’ examines a new topic this week: the future of soldiering. Join Dr Susan Carland as she talks to veterans and experts in ethics; robotics, autonomous systems, and artificial intelligence; resilience; and military conduct to discover what the future we face looks like if we fail to consider the moral and ethical quandaries presented by new technologies on the battlefield.

This week’s guests are philosophy professor Dr Rob Sparrow; alumnus and veteran Dr Josh Roose; Dr Kate Devitt, Chief Scientist of Trusted Autonomous Systems, CRC; former SAS Commanding Officer Ben Pronk DSC; and Paul Scharre, a former US Army Ranger and the author of ‘Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War’.

A full transcript of this episode is available on Monash Lens.

‘What Happens Next?’ will be back next week with part two of this series, “Will AI Change the Future of Soldiering?”. In the meantime, check out this short documentary on how robotics and AI are changing civilians’ lives, too.

If you’re enjoying the show, don’t forget to subscribe and rate or review ‘What Happens Next?’ to help listeners like yourself discover it.

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