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Robot Armies are Coming


Artist rendering of robot soldiers


The Pentagon Envisions Robot Armies in a Decade

The quest for an AI-dominated battlefield is becoming a reality


Recent comments by Gen. Mark Milley, the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman shed light on the speed with which the US and other nations are racing to deploy autonomous weapons.


“Today we are in … probably the biggest change in military history,” Milley said during a March 31 discussion with Defense One. “We’re at a pivotal moment in history from a military standpoint. We’re at what amounts to a fundamental change in the very character of war.”

Milley expects that the world’s most powerful armies will be predominantly robotic within the next decade. “If you add robotics with artificial intelligence and precision munitions and the ability to see at range (remotely), you’ve got the mix of a real fundamental change.”

He compared today’s change to the competition that occurred between WW1 & WW2. In that era, all the nations of Europe had access to new technologies for mechanized vehicles, radio, and chemical weapons. All of them could have developed the unified capability for maneuver warfare, but only one did it. “That country, Nazi Germany, overran Europe in a very, very short period of time … because they were able to take those technologies and put them together in a doctrine which we now know as Blitzkrieg,” he said.

Today’s advanced armies are bringing together new capabilities in robotics, AI, cyber and space platforms, and precision munitions into a cohesive doctrine of war. The country that first achieves this will rule the battlefield. Milley has claimed that the U.S. military will field substantial robotic ground forces and AI capabilities by 2030. Lt. Gen. Ross Coffman believes that 2040 will mark the United States’ true entry into an age characterized by artificially intelligent killing machines.

The DoD is requesting a record $1.8 billion in funding for AI projects for next year alone. China’s military is already spending an estimated $1.6 billion on AI investments.

In the drive for faster decision-making in the heat of war, key military systems could be controlled by autonomous artificial intelligence. Think – unmanned submarines, aircraft, battlefield robots, and even nuclear arsenals.

What could possibly go wrong with this situation?


Bible Prophecy


Although they are interpreted in a variety of ways, the glimpses that the Bible gives into future events do not suggest a nuclear war that destroys the world.

Yet several passages are beginning to look clearer in light of today’s advancements.

Consider Joel’s account of the Day of the Lord in Joel 2:1-11:

Blow the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain; let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of Jehovah cometh, for it is nigh at hand; a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, as the dawn spread upon the mountains; a great people and a strong; there has not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after them, even to the years of many generations.

A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and none hath escaped them.

The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so do they run.

Like the noise of chariots on the tops of the mountains do they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array.

At their presence the peoples are in anguish; all faces are waxed pale.

They run like mighty men; they climb the wall like men of war; and they march every one on his ways, and they break not their ranks.

Neither does one thrust another; they march every one in his path; and they burst through the weapons, and break not off their course.

They leap upon the city; they run upon the wall; they climb up into the houses; they enter in at the windows like a thief.

The earth quakes before them; the heavens tremble; the sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining.

This terrible army is described as God’s army. We see many examples in the Bible where God has used powerful armies to enact judgment. As in those times, God’s goal even here is to turn those being judged to repentance.

"Rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto Jehovah your God; for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness, and regrets punishing." Joel 2:13

Many Bible commentators have assumed Joel’s account describes an invasion of locusts, and that may be correct. It’s interesting, though, to see how it could easily be an even better description of modern autonomous weapons.


Whatever your interpretation of prophecy may be, it’s clear that the world is quickly drawing closer to the events it describes.

Perhaps the rapid advancements we see in AI are a wake-up call.

But when these things begin to come to pass, look up, and lift up your heads; because your redemption draweth nigh. Luke 21:28

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