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  #31  
Old 31 Aug 15, 02:58
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Yeah that need not be related to drones directly, but the idea of real time vitals on soldiers is definitely a time honoured one in SciFi. It's always very dramatic to see the evil alien picking off soldiers one by one and the vitals flatlining :O

Theoretically future weapons could track number of shots fired, ammo expenditure etc in a similar way although unless every shell had wifi you'd still need to include losses to ammo explosions or duds manually.
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  #32  
Old 31 Aug 15, 03:18
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Originally Posted by Frtigern View Post
Each drone can be used by just the soldier it follows via micro-HUD in eyepro or tablet, and it could be shared and accessed across the unit within range.
I see the danger of information overload there.

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Instead of having to talk over radio to get a sitrep and gather info, HQ could just access the drone feeds to understand whats going on.
Again, HQ will get more info, more quickly, that way. Not necessarily more intelligence, which includes analysis of the data. Naturally that analysis can be done back at HQ, but I suspect that sometimes the immediate, direct take of the human who is actually out there on point might be more valuable than a second video feed.
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  #33  
Old 31 Aug 15, 03:23
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Originally Posted by Escape2Victory View Post
We are now at the point that, technologically, we can field fully autonomous military drones if we want to, within the normal boundaries of weapon development and testing. The main blockers are cultural (how do we all feel about it) and legal.
It depends on the environment you'd want to deploy them to. In a desert where you are 100% sure there are no friendlies, no civilians, no neutrals? Yes, if so I agree. In a sea, where the science of analyzing the acoustic signature of a sub is so advanced that the "drone" can not only tell the model of the enemy sub, but oftentimes the individual hull number? OK, I agree.

In an urban environment where you have your own soldiers, civilians, ambulances, reporters, UN personnel and facilities, neutrals? Huh, no. I hope nobody sends an AI-led drone there as of now.
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  #34  
Old 31 Aug 15, 03:27
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Originally Posted by Karri View Post
I mean the unmanned smaller drones, like the ones amazon is using to experiment with delivering packages. Imagine if those have a lift capacity of 100kg(yeah, nowhere near that now, but what about in 20-30 years?). Need to get to a roof? Just get to the nearest safe wall and zip up in seconds with a drone. Or move from roof to roof, etc. Would add vertical movement in an easier capacity to urban environment.
I fully understand what you mean, and I stand by my point. The thing you envision is nothing but an advanced parachute that can redeploy back to safety on its own, and be reused. Certainly it may be valuable in its own right; but it has little to do with the concept of a remote-controlled, unmanned vehicle, which IMHO is the key aspect of the concept of drone, given that its main functioning is to work as a manned vehicle.
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  #35  
Old 31 Aug 15, 04:20
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Indeed drones will increasingly become part of the weapons kit of warfare, BUT I hope it is ultimately humans who decide their missions and how they will be conducted. Humans may be fallable, but at least I feel more comfortable with thought processes that involve a bit more than the purely mechanical number crunching sort.

Last edited by Wooden Wonder; 01 Sep 15 at 02:35..
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  #36  
Old 31 Aug 15, 07:24
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Originally Posted by Michele View Post
In an urban environment where you have your own soldiers, civilians, ambulances, reporters, UN personnel and facilities, neutrals? Huh, no. I hope nobody sends an AI-led drone there as of now.
Well quite and most people would agree with that statement. We don't trust the tech enough, so it is many years away from being applied.
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  #37  
Old 31 Aug 15, 09:15
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Indeed drones will increasingly become part of the weapons kit of warfare, BUT I hope it is ultimely humans who decide their missions and how they will be conducted. Humans may be fallable, but at least I feel more comfortable with thought processes that involve a bit more than the purely mechanical number crunching sort.
There is that, and additionally there is the cultural dimension mentioned by Escape2Victory. We're used to human mistakes in warfare, and also every side can commit them.
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  #38  
Old 31 Aug 15, 15:32
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One of the serious shortcomings of drones is situational awareness. A remote operator is handicapped severely by not being on the spot.
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  #39  
Old 31 Aug 15, 19:57
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One of the serious shortcomings of drones is situational awareness. A remote operator is handicapped severely by not being on the spot.
That's just a computing / design problem that can be solved. You think we've been doing all this research into computer vision and object identification just for the Microsoft Kinect
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Old 31 Aug 15, 23:02
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That's just a computing / design problem that can be solved. You think we've been doing all this research into computer vision and object identification just for the Microsoft Kinect
It takes more than that to be fully situationally aware. Ask any fighter pilot, tanker or combat trooper.

The worst thing you can do is let the machine do your thinking for you, and no matter how cleverly programmed, no machine can match a human's intuition. The best example of this is that sense you get of being watched. No machine can match that capability. It either detects being watched or it doesn't, but a human can sense a watcher that he cannot see or otherwise identify.
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  #41  
Old 01 Sep 15, 00:00
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThoseDeafMutes View Post
Yeah that need not be related to drones directly, but the idea of real time vitals on soldiers is definitely a time honoured one in SciFi. It's always very dramatic to see the evil alien picking off soldiers one by one and the vitals flatlining :O

Theoretically future weapons could track number of shots fired, ammo expenditure etc in a similar way although unless every shell had wifi you'd still need to include losses to ammo explosions or duds manually.
Well these devices to monitor vitals without being connected to a bunch of separate machines doing each task individually is now reality. I read some article about it where nurses and doctors can now better track each patients vitals remotely and can react faster if a problem is detected.

I thought about a more rudimentary device that is in the upper receiver that counts how many rounds are fired and can display that to the soldier with rounds, magazines, belts left in loadout. Combine that with the commo relay the drone can do and that soldier can also see how many rounds his buddies have left. Another idea is to have a way of tracking which direction rounds were fired and how many in that direction from each soldier. Combine that with thermal optics that can spot enemy muzzle flashes and you have a way to more quickly suppress enemy fire. A HUD could display in degrees or mils where you fired at and where muzzle flashes were detected. A drone can be a force multiplier to that individual soldier.

As far as how autonomous or intelligent the drone is, it should never be intended to be the only tool. Traditional infantry skills are still taught and practiced because you cannot rely on technology. It simply is another tool which can or can't be useful depending on the mission and the environment. I'm sure early iterations will be sloppy and buggy but as tech develops so will the drones...
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Old 01 Sep 15, 02:50
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Another idea is to have a way of tracking which direction rounds were fired and how many in that direction from each soldier. Combine that with thermal optics that can spot enemy muzzle flashes and you have a way to more quickly suppress enemy fire.
Definitely possible, we already have basic systems today such as Raytheon's "Boomerang", which is based on audio detection. It measures the time delay between the supersonic crackle of a bullet and the gunshot do determine the distance between the shooter and the device, and it has a series of microphones wihch compare how loud both sounds were for each mic to determine the direction it travelled from. This gives a reasonably accurate indicator of "Aproximately 30 degrees clockwise, 800 meters away".

Adding a visual component to this will just make it even more effective. Even if you don't want automated counter fire from drones for reasons of collateral damage (or at least, not having it on by default), you could still have automated responses in the form of focusing a recon asset on the spot to acquire the target and see if they're moving / get information on what exactly is located there.

Quote:
As far as how autonomous or intelligent the drone is, it should never be intended to be the only tool. Traditional infantry skills are still taught and practiced because you cannot rely on technology. It simply is another tool which can or can't be useful depending on the mission and the environment. I'm sure early iterations will be sloppy and buggy but as tech develops so will the drones...
The drones we have now are an intermediary step between non-intelligence (pre-computer warfare) and strong-intelligence (i.e. human or greater levels of intelligence). There are many more stops along this road, and we don't know exactly how long it is, but there will come a time when it is no-longer necessary or even prudent to include the operation of humans in warfare. To start with it will just be force augmentation, then later on it will be the case that humans in combat decrease the fighting effectiveness of these systems, and they'll be increasingly relegated to the role of "target approval" instead of doing the fighting themselves. Eventually, we may come to trust them enough to get over certain cultural barriers and let them respond to aggression themselves.

What I'm saying is also relevant to this:

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Originally Posted by Mountain Man View Post

The worst thing you can do is let the machine do your thinking for you, and no matter how cleverly programmed, no machine can match a human's intuition. The best example of this is that sense you get of being watched. No machine can match that capability. It either detects being watched or it doesn't, but a human can sense a watcher that he cannot see or otherwise identify.
I fundamentally disagree that there is anything special about human intelligence, which includes ill defined concepts like intuition. Autonomous systems are not presently able to replicate all human capabilities, but some day they will, and exceed them in every respect. Well unless we get wiped by an asteroid or something before then.
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Old 01 Sep 15, 02:51
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Originally Posted by Escape2Victory View Post
Well quite and most people would agree with that statement. We don't trust the tech enough, so it is many years away from being applied.
Tech. by itself is devoid of human thought processes, which involve moral and ethical and indeed tactical alterations to most fluid situations.

Would you ever trust computers, unless they could ever be made to become moral and ethical beings [which I very much doubt]? -And even then I suspect you would like them to have a thorough detailed psychological health check with some regularity.


The WOPR in 'Wargames' scenario is a very real possibility/probability if computers are allowed to do their own 'thinking' without supervision, and a human hand [ideally also under supervision] ready at a well maintained off switch/button.
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Old 01 Sep 15, 09:25
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I fully understand what you mean, and I stand by my point. The thing you envision is nothing but an advanced parachute that can redeploy back to safety on its own, and be reused. Certainly it may be valuable in its own right; but it has little to do with the concept of a remote-controlled, unmanned vehicle, which IMHO is the key aspect of the concept of drone, given that its main functioning is to work as a manned vehicle.
Well, not a parachute so much as a lift. I don't understand why it has 'little to do', it's an obvious example of using a drone. You seem to think the only use is an unmanned vehicle full of weapons...?


Also, I don't really understand this panic about AI-killing machines. The truth is that we are nowhere near a functioning AI. There's been some news of robots capable of passing the Turing test, but all they do is find the best answer with the parameters given to them(like search engines do). Of course, I do understand the panic if they are actually planning to deploy such a thing, as it certainly is not capable of any decision making...and by the time we have an AI capable of such a thing(or an AI at all) we will actually be more interested in it than how to use it in war.
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Old 01 Sep 15, 09:55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frtigern View Post
Well these devices to monitor vitals without being connected to a bunch of separate machines doing each task individually is now reality. I read some article about it where nurses and doctors can now better track each patients vitals remotely and can react faster if a problem is detected.

I thought about a more rudimentary device that is in the upper receiver that counts how many rounds are fired and can display that to the soldier with rounds, magazines, belts left in loadout. Combine that with the commo relay the drone can do and that soldier can also see how many rounds his buddies have left. Another idea is to have a way of tracking which direction rounds were fired and how many in that direction from each soldier. Combine that with thermal optics that can spot enemy muzzle flashes and you have a way to more quickly suppress enemy fire. A HUD could display in degrees or mils where you fired at and where muzzle flashes were detected. A drone can be a force multiplier to that individual soldier.

As far as how autonomous or intelligent the drone is, it should never be intended to be the only tool. Traditional infantry skills are still taught and practiced because you cannot rely on technology. It simply is another tool which can or can't be useful depending on the mission and the environment. I'm sure early iterations will be sloppy and buggy but as tech develops so will the drones...
Load indicators have been around since automatic weapons were first developed. The Savage rifle and the Luger both had them, for example. So did the M1 Garand. These can be useful, as you point out, but the problem with the rest of the concept is informational overload.

In the midst of combat, a squad leader or platoon leader cannot properly monitor what is happening to his entire unit and still conduct himself properly and safely at the same time. There seems to be a very real danger of over-teching American combat troops when they are fighting against low tech 4G forces who are beating them despite all of the gadgets in use.

The AK-series, for example, are superb weapons using no tech at all, yet they have been mastered by people who also are low tech and used repeatedly to defeat us, so I'm not seeing any real evidence that increasing the tech load on our soldiers is the real answer.
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