Image by .Tromas
The escalation of warfare is a natural part of human history: when man first built walls, another man built a catapult to bring them down. This process is easy to trace, from the Roman spear head which would detach after being thrown, to the atom bomb, a weapon that levels entire cities.
Now that the 21st Century is here and we draw closer to the future predicted in science fiction, what can we expect warfare to look like in the next hundred years? Will soldiers be using guns that fire a thousand bullets a minute? Maybe we will drop intelligent nano-bots to neutralise enemies rather than risking civilians with explosives. All of these things are possible, but to make a more accurate prediction escalation has to be kept in mind.
Step One – An Answer To Bullets.
Guns are firing more bullets than ever before. They are firing more powerful bullets than ever before. But just as armour was invented to stop the sword, something will come along and revolutionise warfare.
So what will the soldier of the future look like? Possibly mechanical exo-skeletons. The exo-skeleton would allow for protection, manoeuvrability and enhanced fire-power; it would keep the wearer safe and is the next step on a robotic path of warfare. There is one problem with the exo-skeleton and that is that the wearer becomes a target. After all, who are you going to shoot, the walking man-tank or the guys hiding behind it?
Step Two- An Answer To Death.
Congratulations! You’ve created your machine/human hybrid and got yourself an Iron Man look alike. Only now the enemy instantly destroys them because they’ve had to escalate their weapons to match yours. So what do you do? You beat death.
If you’ve seen Terminator you will know that everyone fears robots. They are unstoppable automatons that cannot be swayed and have to be the inevitable escalation of warfare.
But once you stop putting souls on the line, you no longer need to take any. If you are sending an Arnie style machine of death into a warzone, then you can just as easily arm him with tasers as you can with flamethrowers.
We may put robots on the battlefield to save our soldiers’ lives but in the end they could save our enemies too.
Step Three- An Answer To War.
If one side has robots, eventually the enemy will have robots; this is the way of the world. When war has no human cost, what next? Truly, this is the realm of the Science-Fiction writer. In Philp K. Dick’s short story The Defenders he told of both side’s robots lying, reporting that post-atomic war continued in order to prevent mankind from destroying itself.
Perhaps we will be duped by our more benevolent creations but perhaps computers may defeat the need for war completely. Computers and robots could be used to calculate the strength of respective militaries, intelligence of officers and likelihood of defences being breached. With both enemies having an identical computer calculating their chances for victory, generals would know before battle had even started who was going to win and if it is not them, why fight at all? There would likely also be a whole range of hidden costs which could deter the rush towards war, from big issues such as training for technical teams to maintain these machines, to more innocuous things like the fact that robots can’t insure themselves (soldiers currently pay their own military life insurance) so these costs would likely have to be funded by taxpayers.
War would only become worth chancing when the margin is so small it could go either way and do people really want to start fighting over percentages?
All of this of course is completely theoretical, but isn’t it be nice to think that one day, even in war, mankind will look for ways to keep each other alive rather than finding new ways to kill?
- License: Creative Commons image source
Dominic Archer is a writer of many kinds and with a varied skill set. Writing, both creatively and informatively has always been his key passion and although Archer finished his degree in Screenwriting in 2012, he is not quite as smart as likes to think he is. He writes for JBI Insurance.