Robots in war

17 August 2010

Human soldiers have emotions. Robots don’t. Robots are never affected by anger or revenge, frustration or fatigue. They don’t need food or water. They can be destroyed. But they don’t leave bereaved families.

This new online interactive resource from the British Red Cross enables secondary-age students to explore these complex issues. It has five short standalone videos, which are followed by thought-provoking questions and activities for students. There is also a photo gallery showing soldiers and robots in action. Plus the chance for students to submit a video exploring these issues and to win a prize. And useful notes for teachers.

Having browsed through the resource I can recommend it as a real eye-opener. I was fascinated to learn that there are robots designed to fetch wounded soldiers from the battlefield, and these have been given ‘friendly faces’ a bit like teddy bears. And it was unsettling to think about people sitting at desks operating unmanned planes dropping bombs thousands of miles away – giving a darker side to the phrase “just another day at the office”.

These issues are also explored in a British Red Cross blog post by Mark Cox.

Explore the resource at www.redcross.org.uk/robotsinwar.

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