San Diego Tribune – The wave of automation that swept away tens of thousands of American manufacturing and office jobs during the past two decades is now washing over the armed forces, putting both rear-echelon and front-line positions in jeopardy.
“Just as in the civilian economy, automation will likely have a big impact on military organizations in logistics and manufacturing,” said Michael Horowitz, a University of Pennsylvania professor and one of the globe’s foremost experts on weaponized robots.
“The U.S. military is very likely to pursue forms of automation that reduce ‘back-office’ costs over time, as well as remove soldiers from non-combat deployments where they might face risk from adversaries on fluid battlefields, such as in transportation.”
Driver-less vehicles poised to take taxi, train and truck driver jobs in the civilian sector also could nab many combat-support slots in the Army.
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“Robots will continue to replace the dirty, dull and dangerous jobs, and this will affect typically more uneducated and unskilled workers,” said Henrik Christensen, director of the Institute for Contextual Robotics at UC San Diego. “You need to look at the mundane things. Logistics tasks will not be solved by people driving around in trucks. Instead, you will have fewer drivers. The lead driver in a convoy might be human, but every truck following behind will not be. The jobs that are the most boring will be the ones that get replaced because they’re the easiest to automate.”
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