The Future Of Work

Are robotic soldiers in our future?

By Alywin Chew        4 April 2022

We often don’t realise this, but technology is amazing.

Although the pandemic prevented the entire family from gathering at my grandmother’s home for the annual reunion dinner this Chinese New Year, we were still able to exchange well wishes via Zoom.

Even my relatives who are currently living abroad joined the call. It was quite the heartening experience because I have not seen some of them for ages.

But like so many things in life, technology is only amazing until it’s not.

For starters, I didn’t get my hongbaos.

Technology can also disrupt our careers. The advent of washing machines eventually led to the extinction of the iconic Indian laundrymen, or ‘dhobies’, at Dhoby Ghaut. Sophisticated communication systems made switchboard operators redundant.

Faced with this potential threat of career disruption, it is imperative that we “reskill” or “upskill”. In other words, we need to diversify our skill sets and learn new things.

A shining example of this would be our national footballers, some of whom have been honing their skills as Grab drivers.

The ultimate example of reskilling must surely be how Arnold Schwarzenegger went from being an immigrant bodybuilder who could barely speak English, to one of Hollywood’s biggest action stars, to becoming the “Governator” of California.

So, be sure to take advantage of the SkillsFuture credits the government has provided. Learn something new. Explore a new interest. My friend David once used some of his credits to learn programming. He was convinced that writing code instead of writing magazine features would earn him more money.

But he quit the course after the third day. He said he was allergic to bugs.

My greatest peeve with technology so far is the need to remember passwords. For the sake of convenience, I usually use the same password for multiple accounts.

But certain systems require users to change their passwords every few months. I thought that the best way to address this problem was to simply add a zero behind the previous password.

Thing is, I’ve completely lost count of how many zeroes there are.

It’s also ridiculous that many sites these days require a password that has a combination of numbers, letters, capitalised letters and special characters, or else you might be warned that your chosen password is “weak”.

Come on, are we going to have to use emojis in the future too?

Studies have shown that those of us in jobs with highly repetitive tasks would likely be replaced by machines and artificial intelligence in the near future. After all, machines are tireless and hence offer greater efficiency and productivity. Also, machines never need toilet breaks.

For this reason alone, I reckon all soldiers should be replaced by machines.

I speak from experience. During one fire and movement exercise, my section mate found himself lying atop a pile of human excrement that someone obviously didn’t bother to bury.

And just like that, he became the walking example of the popular Hokkien term KNS.

It also makes total sense to replace human soldiers with robots on the battlefield because we’ll save countless lives. Humans are already using drones and robotic dogs in warfare. It’s only a matter of time before we have amphibious Merlion robots defending our shores.

But this doesn’t mean that humans will have no part to play – there will always be a need for people to pilot the robots.

But this doesn’t mean that humans will have no part to play – there will always be a need for people to pilot the robots.

See, now anyone from PES D and E to XYZ can fight too.

Excuse sunlight? Excuse grass? Excuse camo paint? Excuse No.4? No problem. The military is now a totally inclusive space. Just log on to your robotic soldier and defend the nation from the comfort of your Secretlab gaming chair. This writer and NSman can dream.

Just don’t forget the darn password.

LOL Mondays is an ongoing series of slice-of-life stories from freelance writer and NSman Alywin Chew. Look out for the humorous tales which will be posted every first Monday of the month, to help you drive away your Monday blues!

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