2014 January 22 Wednesday
Robots: Double Good For US Military

The US military ought to fund research in fast food restaurant automation. Why? Any policy that cuts labor market demand for teenagers boosts the number teenagers who will see military service as their best option. So the US military ought to pursue automation of the jobs that teenagers do.

This observation makes me think that robots are double good for the US military. The robots simultaneously increase the military's labor supply and reduce the military's need for soldiers.

General Robert Cone revealed the news at an Army Aviation symposium last week, noting that the Army is considering reducing the size of a Brigade Combat Team from 4,000 soldiers to 3,000, with robots and drones making up for the lost firepower.

Fast food, retail stores, movie theaters and other places that hire teens are competition for military recruits. Automate those places and the US military won't have to do any recruiting. The applicants will be desperate.

Teenagers need to know their prospects are grim without skills and they need to be given training paths toward becoming useful. Beats a career at Pizza Hut.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2014 January 22 08:58 PM 

bob sykes said at January 23, 2014 4:32 AM:

The problem is that there are about 20,000,000 18 year olds, and the military only needs about 200,000 of them, that's 1%.

ASPIRANT said at January 23, 2014 9:55 AM:

I've been thinking about joining the military... My looming obsolescence scares the shit out of me. I screwed up and dropped out of school thinking I could find a good job easily enough... a couple years getting burned out on tech support before my company shut down disabused me of that notion. I'll have my degree (a comp-sci associate's) in a few months but just that won't give me much of an edge.

---- uhoh ---- said at January 24, 2014 5:27 AM:

I'm already desperate now, and the robots haven't even clocked in yet!

Abelard Lindsey said at January 26, 2014 10:48 AM:

Yet we still have people (who should know better) proposing a return of the draft:



Perhaps these people are not yet aware of the increasing automation of the military. Either that or they are simply boneheads.

Randall Parker said at January 29, 2014 8:32 PM:


They want the US military to serve as social glue. No can do. They should list the reasons why they think new social glue is necessary.

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