Article written by Greg Louks, President & CEO of Iron Sword Enterprises, LLC, Robolliance Expert
Whether soldier or civilian, all lives are noble and worthy of our protection. And so, the creation of those technologies to safeguard human lives is, in itself, noble.
At West Point, we continually studied the effects of technology on our profession. One might think our interests lay only in improved weapons of warfare; but that would not be correct. General Douglas MacArthur best expressed this paradox when he said, “The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.”
The world is a dangerous place. That sounds trite, perhaps; yet it is true. One need only watch the news on any given day to see this point starkly and horribly illustrated. Against all efforts, danger has touched our shores. Our infrastructure is at risk, of course. But, far more seriously, human lives are lost in this tragic struggle, and our very way of life is at risk.
Risk to the lives of American soldiers has changed dramatically throughout the course of our history and even in the time since I served. Warfare itself has changed, which impacts this risk. In World War II, the military death toll averaged 297 deaths per day in 1940. Contrast that with casualties in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, which averaged 1.57 American deaths per day.
My experience at West Point influences my tenet that the United States of America has the finest fighting force in the world. Yet, we can correlate this striking decrease in American deaths to an increase in technological advancement. Americans place tremendous value on the lives of the men and women of its armed forces. With the introduction of semi-autonomous and fully-autonomous robots, we have been able to mitigate our soldiers’ risk and exposure to dangerous situations and security threats. Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs) help provide accurate and consistent real-time reporting to secure areas of operations.
With the implementation of robotics in various industries, there exists the possibility that the American military will be able to downsize its human personnel through greater use of fully-autonomous robots. Programs, such as Robolliance, combined with frontline perspectives of our military, serve to increase the public’s adoption and implementation of robotics. Whether for the military or for other industries, robotics partnership with manpower will help safeguard lives and property.
I believe in the human race. I believe in its dignity. I believe in its nobility and its worthiness. I am amazed at its continuous efforts to improve its lot, always striving for perfection. I wish that war and conflict were obsolete, that nevermore would blood be shed for any reason. Until that time comes, if it ever does, vigilance—not paranoia—must be our watchword. This is the uncommonly brave desire of every member of America’s services: to be vigilant for the American people and our way of life and, if necessary, to go into harm’s way. Technology has a place with vigilance.
I do not speak for the American soldier. Yet as a former soldier, I am certain each is grateful to those who create the technologies that make the world a safer place.