Pick just about any recent sci-fi franchise and there’s usually something in there about robots and machines fighting future wars.
Whether that’s automated missile systems or actual walking, talking robots – the idea that humans will continue to meet up and beat seven bells out of each other seems to be fading fast.
That’s also the message from a new report conducted by the Ministry of Defence, which contains analysis from experts from all around the world.
They say that robots will line up alongside humans that have been ‘enhanced’ with gene editing and drugs to keep our country safe.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson on the deck of HMS Montrose at HMNB Devonport, Plymouth. (Image: Steve Parsons/PA Wire)
‘This report makes clear that we are living in a world that is becoming rapidly more dangerous, with intensifying challenges from state aggressors who flout the rules, terrorists who want to harm our way of life and the technological race with our adversaries,’ said defence secretary Gavin Williamson.
‘Identifying these threats means we can continue to build an armed forces that can stay ahead of them,’ he said of the report, called The Future Starts Today.
It was developed by the MoD’s think tank the Development Concepts and Doctrine Centre, along with partners in Sweden, Australia, Finland, Germany, France and the Netherlands.
According to the report, future human soldiers could benefit from “gene editing, physical and cognitive prosthesis and pharmaceutical enhancement”.
Unmanned military drone: PA
The report states: ‘Whilst it is envisaged that humans will continue to be central to the decision-making process, conflicts fought increasingly by robots or autonomous systems could change the very nature of warfare, as there will be less emphasis on emotions, passion and chance.’
The report also suggested a “hybrid” approach could go beyond military or economic attacks and open up “new arenas of conflict, including in space, cyberspace, sub-oceanic and, potentially, augmented and virtual reality”.
It also outlines how regional powers could develop nuclear capabilities with global reach, internationally accepted rules on chemical weapons are ignored, and non-state actors could acquire sophisticated missile technology.
Yep, the future could be scary (Image: Getty)
It also describes how the interaction between climate change, demand for resources and over-population drives competition, that could lead to conflict.
All in all, pretty cheery stuff.
The MOD says that its research teams used ‘a suite of research methods to provide insight into alternate, plausible futures, watchpoints and discontinuities.’
Through this analysis, it says it has identified the key areas that have the potential to profoundly change humanity over the coming years. So even if we can’t stop robot warfare descending into a nuclear apocalypse, at least we’ve been warned it’s coming. Happy Wednesday, everyone.