Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Soldier and robot interaction in combat environments
by Kolb, Michael, Ph.D., The University of Oklahoma, 2012, 227; 3524365
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this research was to examine the dynamics that form when humans and robots work together in a high-stress combat environment, and compare and contrast these bonds to human-to-human bonds that are formed under the same conditions. Based on the somewhat limited literature that demonstrated human-to-robot emotional bonding among a civilian population and anecdotal press reporting of soldiers bonding with their robots under combat conditions, the author hypothesized that not only would soldier-to-robot bonding occur, but that it would be exacerbated under combat conditions. To test this hypothesis, the author surveyed several hundred robot users in the military (primarily Army) community. The results of the survey demonstrated that soldiers showed little to no proclivity to bond with their robots under any conditions. Although some expressed fondness for working with robots, they recognized the current limitations of the tele-operated robots in use today and pragmatically viewed their robots as life-saving instruments, and in most cases would not hesitate to allow the robot to be destroyed if it meant saving the lives of other military service men or women. The majority of respondents viewed robots as tools that would absolutely save lives as their future usage increased and most were very supportive of increased use. The study includes a chapter on the ethical implications of robotics in combat as well as a chapter on the political, military, and business cases for increased military application of robots. The results have implications for future Army leadership training for both human and robot soldiers, as the trend towards a larger role for autonomous or semi-autonomous machines to do the Army's dull, dirty, and dangerous jobs is likely irreversible.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Gronlund, Scott
Commitee: Boyd, Tom, Rodgers, Joe, Shehab, Randa, Thomas, Rick
School: The University of Oklahoma
Department: Interdisciplinary Studies
School Location: United States -- Oklahoma
Source: DAI-A 74/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Cognitive psychology, Military studies, Robotics
Keywords: Attachment, Combat, Ethics, Military, Robots, Soldiers
Publication Number: 3524365
ISBN: 9781267587374
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