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On the same day my article, Fourth Industrial Age or Millionth Example of Technology Worship?, was published about another example of technology worship I read yet another article, The New Revolution in Military Affairs, describing the need for a new revolution in warfare. I nodded my head as they explained, as I did last week, every supposed revolution in the last 30 years.

Then the author moved on to offer rhetoric about playing a losing game or being Blockbuster in the age of Netflix. The crux of the argument is that "A military made up of small numbers of large, expensive, heavily manned, and hard-to-replace systems will not survive on future battlefields, where swarms of intelligent machines will deliver violence at a greater volume and higher velocity than ever before. Success will require a different kind of military, one built around large numbers of small, inexpensive, expendable, and highly autonomous systems.”

There are numerous mistakes in this analysis, and I will cover two of them briefly, before taking a historical view that fatally undermines his case. The crucial first mistake is intelligence. Despite all the advances, technology can't replace the human mind. They can store lots of information, and this article describes that, and technology, such as the advanced sensors and heads up display of the F35 can help process information for human pilots and soldiers, but they cannot make the decisions on their own. We are still years or ages away from a self-aware Skynet dictating strategy. Moreover, this is assuming that countries like China, which still has millions of people living in caves and troubles fielding their jets, can suddenly master even more complicated technology in a battlefield environment.

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Category: Science