Swarming the Battlefield: Combat Evolves Toward Lethal Autonomous Weapons

War, often rationalized as an extension of policy by violent means, has always been a deeply human experience. It defines much of human history and, unsurprisingly, changes in technology accompany—and are often driven by—adaptations in the conduct of warfare. Battles are increasingly fought at distance, progressing from the thrust of a spear to the click of a button that launches a Hellfire missile from a Predator drone flying thousands of miles away.

Already, decisions of war are reliant on fixed lines of code marching to the tune of predetermined algorithms, swaying the perceptions of military commanders and soldiers alike with their outputs. New advances in artificial intelligence and deep machine learning are further pushing limits of augmenting command and control toward autonomous robotics capable of their own decision-making.

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