RE: armed robots

From: denis bider (
Date: Sun Feb 25 2001 - 13:26:30 MST

Spike writes:

> Let us save our species making peace more profitable than war.

I'm not convinced this idea will work entirely the way you want it to.

War is initiated by a group of people A who want to take control of another
group of people B by progressively threatening to destroy, and then actually
destroying, something group B holds of value. This continues as long as
group B doesn't yield to the pressure; if group B doesn't yield at all,
group A will eventually destroy each individual in group B until no group B

Group B typically has only one way to counter: fight back. (If they don't,
group A has achieved their objective, and you have failed.) By fighting
back, group B mirrors the process undertaken by group A: they progressively
threaten to destroy, and then actually destroy, something group A holds of
value, until group A ceases to fight back.

The point is "actually destroy". The robots cannot be programmed to just
kill other robots and nothing else: the chiefs won't see a point in buying
such robots (and indeed, there would be no point). The point of robots is to
more effectively exterminate individuals and resources belonging to the
other group. If that requires exterminating the other group's robots first,
that must be done too; but the ultimate objective is being able to apply
ultimate, killer pressure onto each individual of the other group. We're
talking blood and lives here, that's the only way war works.

If there is no outside intervention, then once initiated, the process of war
will continue until either group A or group B either yields to the pressure
or is destructed. In most cases, either case means that the winning group
will subvert the losing group, and only one group will remain. If a silent
conflict continues, it will not any more be a horizontal conflict, but a
vertical one: the previously winning group will have more resources on the
outset, and any remaining adversaries will be much poorer, significantly
more inhibited and less well organized. They will have great difficulty
buying any robots, so this is not any more a situation you can apply your
solution to.

Now suppose you give group A a number of robots, and you give group B the
same number of robots. The two groups now start their war. If group A runs
out of robots first, group B has won. But your intention wasn't to have one
of the groups win! Your intention was to keep the robots fighting
indefinitely. But there's no way you can ensure that, and it actually won't
happen: a war of robots will expend resources faster than the groups can
replace them, and the group with the lesser amount of
resources-times-dedication will inevitably run out of robots first. So if
group A runs out of robots first, group B has won, group A will be
subverted, and so, you have failed.

If group B runs out of robots first, group A has won, and you have also

The only remaining possibility is that group A's robots and group B's robots
cancel each other out - e.g., both groups simultaneously run out of
resources to buy new robots. With no robots left, they will resort to more
traditional methods of waging war, and you have also failed.

So, this whole strategy seems to be a fairly inevitable failure for all of
its humanistic aspects. The only aspect in which it is likely to succeed is
making fat profits from the sweat and blood of innocent people governed by

Development of attack technology only expedites wars, it doesn't prevent
them. The faster wars happen, the more likely it is that one of the sides
will not be able to recuperate fast enough, and the other side will win. But
you don't want anyone to win. So this proposition is a no-no.

It is only the development of defensive technology which might slow a war
down, thus contributing to the equalization of chances.

- denis

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