University of Bristol
Institute of Physics logo
Why not try our other site: BEEP Biology & Ethics

Warfare without risk?

The TALON military robot, which can carry a machine gun fired remotely by a soldier many miles away.

Is the risk of death necessary to make politicians think twice about starting wars?

War on television

Between 1959 and 1975, America was involved in a war in Vietnam. It was the first war to be conducted on television, with daily reports from the front line. One factor that helped bring the war to an end was American public protest at the number of dead soldiers returning home in body bags, as seen on television. Ever since, governments engaged in wars have been very careful to try to limit the pictures of death that their own citizens can see.

What might have happened if one side were to have robot soldiers?

In the past, if a government started a war, there has always been a heavy price of death to be paid by their own soldiers and their families. If you take away that cost in human lives from your own side, what’s to stop you?

Question: Imagine if battlefields become a place where a rich country can send armed robots to fight human soldiers from a poorer country. How would the people back home be affected? Would removing the risk of their own soldiers dying make it easier for governments in rich countries to start wars?

Next: Robots in transport

What's your opinion?

Average rating

Not yet rated

Read comments

speech bubble  No comments yet. Why not be the first person to add one?