Will World War 3 be fought from remote locations, weapons and “smart” munitions operated from afar? Although it is doubtful that a “boots on the ground” approach will always be necessary in future battle situations, it appears that human involvement in military operations is taking a back seat and human drivers are increasingly directing things by remote. As UPI reported Oct. 5, the United States Navy has released a video that shows a number of small autonomous boats swarming a target. The remote-controlled boats are the latest in what appears to be an increasing shift toward human-less weapons — military robots.
A video released by the U. S. Navy depicts a swarm of unmanned boats attacking targets. It could very well be a depiction of mechanized warfare that will prevail should the world find itself embroil in a third world war. But World War 3 aside, squadrons of autonomous, remote operated watercraft could be used in various tactical situations.
Autonomous boats, much like driverless cars, require advanced computer programs and sensors for navigation, not to mention for coordinating their group efforts. That being said, testing is currently being conducted to see how well the computerized boats work as a group. And if results are positive, it is not difficult to see even larger warcraft being outfitted with autonomous navigation units, because, any vessel can theoretically be geared to be autonomous.
But all things aren’t left to computer programs and algorithms. Weapons systems are still overseen by humans, albeit from remote locations.
The autonomous boats, when considered in light of the recent news of warships being developed with stealth technology (like the GHOST ship being shopped to the U. S. Navy), could be a formidable weapon in quickly incapacitating an opposing naval force. And given that both stealth and autonomous programming can be modified to accommodate any number of military weapon or vehicle — like a swarm of drones, planes, or tanks — World War 3 could easily become a distance war fought by mechanical proxy.
Human involvement in future wars might become quite minimal. Of course, there will always be a need for an occupation force. Then again, with stationary guard robots, like those employed by South Korea in the Demilitarized Zone, and mobile sentry robots, like those now in use in Russia to safeguard ballistic missile sites, even humans occupying conquered territory might be an obsolete notion as well.