Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Torn from the headlines of tomorrow

You know we are living in the future when Wired runs an article on the military's mistrust of its own robots.

Actually it's a so, so article for being in the future.

While it does have some good material in it, it's tone doesn't do justice to complexity of the issue, IMHO. Specifically on the military side of integrating drones into the existing systems of men and machines already on the battlefield. Hell, integrating people into people-based organizations is difficult enough, particularly in combat arms. It takes years to turn a young slacker just off the couch with Taco Bell still between his teeth into a competent infantryman. Even then, with training, lots of repetitive practice in cooperation, and a jargon designed to distill speech down to a set of formatted reports and specific phrasing to communicate in a chaos-filled environment, misunderstandings crop up and errors happen. Sometimes it seems like half the job of being a good leader is just being able to both express oneself clearly as well as to draw meaning out of others.

So yeah, integrating a semi-autonomous non-human platform into a networked system built to operate in a settings of physical and information entropy is going to take a couple of difficult and frustrating years for everyone involved. Both in and out of the military. With that in mind, having a healthy respect for all the things that can go wrong during that process shouldn't be characterized as "mistrust."    

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