Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Economics of Robot Warfare

Why are they building robots to carry away troops? Doesn't this put the entire genre of Science Fiction to shame? Robots are supposed to fight our wars...or does that put a limit on the political value of war? I have always been a fan of robot wars, and I always predicated my fandom on the idea that the future would be nothing but a robotic holocaust. But now I guess we have to wait for robots to develop feelings and genitals so that we have a real attachment to them and that way they would be worth sacrificing to a "political" cause, whether it be the so-called spreading of "democracy", or a strategic land and oil grab. (Need I say it?) Are we afraid of creating mindless killing machines? (I didn't think so.)

As a former scoutmaster explained to my scout troop the scout meeting before a skeet shoot, every time a man is wounded in combat, we lose a total of three soldiers because two men have to haul the bleeder back. So if you take the total number of wounded in the current Iraq conflict, officially 23,000, you can times that number by 3 for effective loses. I know my estimate doesn't equate to actual loses in soldiers because after the men haul the bleeder back they probably quickly or somewhat quickly return to the front, depending on the situation. But even if my estimate is wildly off, economically, you can see that it is probably more efficient to build a robot that hauls troops rather than one that kills them. First of all, any soldier that goes down the other soldiers can leave for dead. No interruption, just pure fighting--that increases the efficiency of the total fighting force at any one time by what, say 150%? (I'm just an English teacher, I have no idea.) Second, a robot-killing machine would have to be taken care of by robot-repairers, so there you go, the same old problem. Of course, if a robot has an arm blown off, it can still go on. Unless it has the aforementioned feelings and genitals, then it may feel real pain and unable to go on and eventually have to be rebooted in the robot mental ward.

So, you see, those military guys really know what they're doing.

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