They had to introduce robots because a senior official explained that this decision was taken to make up for the lack of manpower in the army.
A SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM OF UNDERSTAFFING IN THE BRITISH ARMY
The United Kingdom has an ambitious project: to introduce 30,000 robot soldiers into its armed forces to work alongside humans on and around the front line.
The Chief of Staff of the British Armed Forces, General Sir Nick Carter, explained during a television interview that these machines could become an integral part of the British army in about a decade. “I think we can have an army of 120,000, of which 30,000 could be robots, who knows,” Carter said in the Sky News interview.
“But we need to open our minds, not to determine what we should do, but rather to know what we can get, that’s really what we should be looking for,” he added.
With respect to funding for this project, General Carter suggested that he was in discussions with the Treasury to provide a multi-year budget settlement for defense to modernize the armed forces.
While the financial future of the British robot army is still unclear, it is clear that it could use some help.
Indeed, the UK armed forces are finding it increasingly difficult to find new recruits. To illustrate this lack, the British army currently has a strength of 73,870 soldiers, well below the nominal target of 82,050.
Thus, the support of 30,000 robots would be welcome. In fact, technology has already been used to fill the gap, and staffing targets have finally been reduced, The Guardian reported.
Indeed, the British Army already uses drones and other small remote-controlled vehicles to assist its soldiers in reconnaissance missions, among other tasks. New technologies are also being developed.
These include the “i9” combat drone, a rifle-equipped aircraft that is capable of identifying targets using artificial intelligence.
A PROJECT THAT RAISES MANY ETHICAL AND LOGISTICAL QUESTIONS
As for the role that these robots will play in the army, General Carter evoked the fact that they would be mainly remote-controlled machines, or at most semi-autonomous devices.
While this eliminates the fear of an invasion of autonomous killer robots, the introduction of remote-controlled robots will surely pose a huge logistical challenge, Interesting Engineering pointed out.
Non-autonomous machines will always need operators, and in this case, the lack of manpower in the British Army will continue to be a problem.
Let us recall, however, that General Carter did not completely rule out the possibility of having autonomous robots, and this raises many ethical concerns.
If the threat of machines rising up against humanity is currently part of science fiction, the speed with which technology is currently evolving indicates that such an event is now entering the field of possibilities in the future.
However, introducing combat robots into an army could be a first step towards this hypothesis of an apocalyptic future.
On the other hand, these robots could also be very useful, especially since it is likely that the dangers threatening a nation could only evolve over time.