Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Case studies: Children and URVs in war zones.

I get the weirdest dreams sometimes. This dream presented itself in the case study form, with movie-like images. It was complete in the form you read it up to Case Study 4 which I finished afterwards and the short analysis section.
Case studies: Children and URVs in war zones. 

Case Study 1: a URV transports a child out of danger. 
A child is in a dangerous fire zone. The unmanned response vehicle identifies that the individual is a child and a non-combatant. Munitions are exploding all around. The unmanned response vehicle opens it’s door. In the child’s native language, in an inviting voice, it says, “Would you like a ride?” The child gets in the unmanned response vehicle and is transported out of immediate danger. 

Case Study 2: a URV refuses to transport a child out of danger in an unsafe context. 
A child is in a dangerous fire zone. The unmanned response vehicle identifies that the individual is a child and a non-combatant. Munitions are exploding all around, an extreme situation has developed in which the safety of the chid and the safety of the unmanned response vehicle are incompatible. In other words, the unmanned response vehicle identifies that it is unlikely it will be able to get the child away from the area safely without being destroyed. The child knocks on the door. The unmanned response vehicle refuses to open it’s door. In the child’s native language, in an inviting voice, it says, “Run! Run! I will shield you for as long as I can.” The child runs away and leaves the war zone, shielded by the unmanned response vehicle, just in time. The unmanned response vehicle is destroyed but the child is saved. 

Case Study 3: a child exploits the URV in the attempt to deliver an explosive to friendlies.
A child is in a dangerous fire zone. The unmanned response vehicle identifies that the individual is a child and apparently a non-combatant. Munitions are exploding all around. The unmanned response vehicle opens it’s door. In the child’s native language, in an inviting voice, it says, “Would you like a ride?” The child gets in the unmanned response vehicle and is transported out of immediate danger. The child leaves behind a package. The unmanned response vehicle identifies explosives and returns a quickly as possible to the enemy combatant base. The explosives intended for friendlies are delivered to the enemy. 

Case Study 4: a child attempts to exploit the URV in a suicide capacity. 
A child is in a dangerous fire zone. The unmanned response vehicle identifies that the individual is a child and apparently a non-combatant. Munitions are exploding all around. The unmanned response vehicle opens it’s door. In the child’s native language, in an inviting voice, it says, “Would you like a ride?” The child gets in the unmanned response vehicle. The unmanned response vehicle identifies explosives. Analysis is conducted and a suicide vest is suspected. The unmanned response vehicle travels behind enemy lines and into the centre of the enemy town. In this case, sadly, the child detonated the device. No harm was done to any friendlies, and the only casualty apart from the child was the unmanned response vehicle itself. 

Analysis.
These case studies, while merely anecdotal and containing no quantitative data, indicate that even in the more problematic instances the unmanned response vehicles are managing to negotiate the moral intricacies of dealing with childrens’ presence in war zones, in some ways more creatively than human soldiers might have done, balancing the principle of lesser of two evils and the idea of not doing any harm. This study does not, of course, deal with the wider contextual issue of how the very presence of unmanned response vehicles in an area might endanger the children a priori, however that question is outside of the scope of this report and must be considered a strategic/tactical question rather than one arising in the day to day programming context. 



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