Warfare is going through its most significant change in human history. This is an in-depth look at how robotics is increasingly preventing soldiers from rich nations from dying in battle.
In 2009, academics and technical experts attended a conference to discuss the impact of the hypothetical possibility that robots and computers could become self-sufficient and able to make their own decisions, also known as the Singularity. They discussed the possibility and the extent to which computers and robots might be able to acquire any level of autonomy, and to what degree they could use such abilities to possibly pose any threat or hazard. They noted that some robots have acquired various forms of semi-autonomy, including being able to find power sources on their own and being able to independently choose targets to attack with weapons. They also noted that some computer viruses can evade elimination and have achieved cockroach intelligence.
The technological singularity hypothesis is that accelerating progress in technologies will cause a runaway effect wherein artificial intelligence will exceed human intellectual capacity and control, thus radically changing or even ending civilization in an event called the singularity. Because the capabilities of such an intelligence may be impossible for a human to comprehend, the technological singularity is an occurrence beyond which events may become unpredictable or even unfathomable.
Some experts and academics have questioned the use of robots for military combat, especially when such robots are given some degree of autonomous functions. The US Navy has funded a report which indicates that as military robots become more complex, there should be greater attention paid to implications of their ability to make autonomous decisions.