As the title suggests, I'd like more insight into what a futuristic society would prefer for warfare. That is, from a skill and economic perspective what should countries invest more in?

Should they delve deeper into organic-machine interfaces to create cybernetic super-soldiers? Or should nations invest heavily into creating a fully-artificial being?

The only reasons I can see that limit or give one type of soldier preference over the other are the following:

  • Technological feasibility: maybe its easier to upgrade the mind than build artificially from scratch; ditto for the body as well?

  • Ability to replace: as it suggests, which futuristic soldier can be quickly and easily replaced? An android built in a machine plant or another human being supped up by machine hardware?

  • Mass production capabilities: is it easier/cheaper to prop up an "android" factory or build separate, custom parts that can be attached to human hosts?

    • (Note: while this one and the 'ability to replace' do share some similarities, I do think it should be its own category. As 'ability to replace' suggests rapid production/deployment of resources during wartime and mass production capabilities is more for long-term, peace time scenarios; e.g. is it cheaper to maintain standing armies of cyborgs/androids)
  • Cost (short-term downpayments/future supplemental costs) and availability of raw materials.

What would be a realistic result in the future based on those variables? Cybernetic soldiers or androids? Are there other variables I am not accounting for?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I would say it depends on what level of technology your society is at. if anything close to modern day I would say cyborg. We're much closer to that than to creating androids. But if your society is so advanced that it already has robots, I would say that a combination of the two could work. Cyborgs as leaders and robots as grunts. So specifying the level of tech would help get your answer. $\endgroup$
    – Len
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 20:51
  • $\begingroup$ If a human soldier is in a virtual reality, hearing and seeing and taking action through a nonhumanoid machine many miles away from his body, is that an android or a cyborg? $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Commented Mar 14, 2018 at 0:19
  • $\begingroup$ @Willk The human could be completely normal in that case, with no cybernetics, while the body being controlled is clearly a robot body. if it looked like a human, you might have an argument about it being an android, but otherwise, its neither, since a remote controlled robot is not an android by default. $\endgroup$
    – Ryan
    Commented Mar 14, 2018 at 2:20
  • $\begingroup$ @Willk I think that would be a remotely piloted drone! $\endgroup$
    – Djorge
    Commented Mar 14, 2018 at 11:23
  • $\begingroup$ Me, my cell phone, and Evernote; Cyborg complete. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 14, 2018 at 20:49

13 Answers 13


I think that whether or not to go with androids vs cyborgs depends quite a bit on the background of your society and their level of technological development.

Dictionary.com defined 'Cyborg' as "A person whose physiological functioning is aided by or dependent upon a mechanical or electronic device." So technically we have been had cyborgs in existence for decades thanks to simple hearing aids and artificial organs, or even centuries if you count prosthetics. Thanks to 3D printing and advances in neuroscience we are actually starting to have fully functioning mechanical limbs as well.

From a military standpoint, it isn't difficult at all to alter any of these existing components to make an individual a superior killer. Really the only reason we haven't done is because of the ethical barrier rather than the technological one. That said, history still hold a few examples of prosthetic weaponry such as captain hook (hooks seem to be the go to for evil men with one hand) or men that have used their prosthetic leg to hide embedded guns.

Androids are almost an entirely different monster, despite the natural tendency to imagine them together. From a mechanical stand point there is really no reason to construct the two the same way as cyborgs are limited by the human form and the need to interface with the brain. The closest contemporary to an android would actually be military drones or self-driving cars. Both are purpose built to function primarily autonomously, only requiring the human element for primary instructions. This technology, although long sought after, is fairly new in comparison and immensely more expensive.

Besides the expense, the other huge hurdle for androids would be that of artificial intelligence. We still haven't achieved true artificial intelligence, and likely won't until we perfect quantum computing, which we are just now starting to even develop. The primary need for this is the ability to make decisions and properly determine friend or foe. Current military drone can do so only through a very strict series of preprogrammed protocols, and fail to function properly in a scenario that is not already predefined. So essentially, the moment your opposition comes up with something you never considered your android becomes more of a liability than an asset.

Likewise, androids probably wouldn't be able to barter for information, pick up on the nuances of human interaction to determine motives and future actions, or make judgement calls of any kind really. At least, not without several hours to compile all the available information, but often these decisions have to be made in seconds. This is the reason quantum computing is necessary.

Some in-between alternatives to either full android and full cyborg might be the use of organic computers/human brains to get over the artificial intelligence hurdle. This would require some handwavium since both are only theoretical technologies. You could also combine both options entirely by making use of AI assisted cyborgs. This is honestly the most likely real future as mechanically assisted soldiers (about a step from cyborgs) with situation analysis software (pretty close to AI) are already in full use by the military. A few examples in popular media of this might be Master Chief and Cortana, or Iron Man and Jarvis.

  • $\begingroup$ Nice response, but "several hours to compile all available information, but often these decisions have to be made in seconds" is wrote in a way that make you believe that a human can compile information faster than a machine, which isn't true. I believe machines can compile information faster than humans. $\endgroup$
    – Cœur
    Commented Mar 14, 2018 at 1:57
  • 9
    $\begingroup$ Humans have immense processing power, along with some specialized circuits that currently require supercomputers to run. A human has practiced for years to train their neural network to spot patterns and objects, analyze and synthesize information and then act on the conclusions. Just because computers do math faster doesn't mean they're better at abstract concepts. $\endgroup$
    – Gensys LTD
    Commented Mar 14, 2018 at 8:45
  • $\begingroup$ @Cœur I believe the analogy is that humans have a slow clock speed but are massively parallel. So problems that can be made parallel are much faster "run on a brain" $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 14, 2018 at 12:36
  • $\begingroup$ Android (wikipedia): An android is a humanoid robot or synthetic organism designed to look and act like a human. So I don't think self-driving car qualifies. $\endgroup$
    – npostavs
    Commented Mar 14, 2018 at 13:12
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @JollyJoker - Unfortunately its not just the number of synapses, but how they connect in an analogue versus binary digital system. Each synapses connects to potentially 1000s of others so you have to put that into the factoring.The non-binary nature also gives the analogue processing an unknown effective bit rate in communication as the strength of signal is part of the information as well. $\endgroup$
    – Windlepon
    Commented Mar 14, 2018 at 16:01

Cyborgs, because creating an android requires everything from head to toe -- and everything in between, including real AI -- to work, whereas you can replace bits on humans one piece at a time. Which is what we're doing now.

  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, it seems easier to enhance a system already in place than to build an entire new system. And as more replacements for various parts of a system are created, the more possible it is to merge all those replacements into one new system $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 20:28
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Not necessarily, because neural interface may prove to be more difficult than AI. $\endgroup$
    – Alexander
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 20:34

Technological unknowns give you the freedom to shape your future as you see fit.

Consider some other questions:

-How hard is human-level intelligence to simulate, really? At the moment, it's not clear how far we are from having sentient computers. The human brain is a fantastically complicated piece of organic computing, and programmers are having to replicate the product of hundreds of millions of years of evolution by hand. You could decide, for the sake of your fiction, that neural nets and quantum computing are right around the corner, making a future where intelligent computer software is commonplace. On the other hand, you could posit that even with advances in technology, a sentient intelligence capable of replacing the common soldier is still beyond reach.

Also, if intelligent machines are readily available, androids could be more economical even if they're more expensive or difficult to produce than simply turning a human into an equivalent cyborg. Remember, training a soldier is expensive, as is raising a human to military age. There is a finite limit on how many conscripts a nation can summon for military service at any given time, before you start running out of people, and it takes time to train them for combat (let alone convert them into cyborgs). Androids neatly sidestep these issues.

-How important is the human element? Is sending cyborgs into combat, risking human life, less politically acceptable than sending robots? Do we trust robots to employ lethal force, or do we want a human pulling the trigger? Robots don't need veterans' associations, ongoing pay and employment in peacetime, or retirement benefits, so what ancillary costs are involved with cyborgs? Do you want tactical independence from your soldiery, or is that seen as a liability?

-How hard is it to integrate cybernetics into the human body? Despite ongoing progress in prosthetic development, cybernetic augmentation is a complex subject. You can write a piece of computer software to drive a servo motor trivially using off-the-shelf components, but translating an electrical signal from the brain to perform the same operation is considerably more complex. There's also acclimation to the new changes, and constant issues of rejection by the host tissue.

Building a wholly cybernetic, autonomous system to drive a piece of mission-relevant hardware might ultimately prove easier than trying to coerce the human body into supporting it. Or it might not. Maybe a wonder drug can solve rejection issues and a chip can translate crystal-clear instructions from your brain, making cybernetic augmentation easy and hassle-free.

There's no simple, easy answer to your question. You have the freedom to modify the parameters of your setting to get the kind of balance you want. Whether you want all androids, all cyborgs, or a mix of the two for different roles, it is possible to construct an internally-consistent set of justifications for your stylistic choices.



There is nothing about the human shape that makes it superior for warfare. Robots and drones will be the future of warfare but it doesn't need to be androids or cyborgs.

You could have a quadrupedal design which is faster and more stable like the robot cat design from Red Planet

You can also have drone swarms "slaughterbots" that flood an area and kamikaze any targets.

If you look at the terminator series, the only reason for the cyborgs was infiltration to root out the human resistance. It had plenty of robotic units that were non humanoid.

  • $\begingroup$ This is an interesting response. But it seems to follow into the "android" category in the sense that, from what I understand, this assumes a resource surplus and sophisticated AI and control systems (or the means to develop such). What would society create if there was a resource scarcity for raw materials and lack of necessary capital to mass produce such machines? $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 23:44
  • $\begingroup$ Easy. It would use straight humans. They produce themselves automatically. You don't need to build anything, just train them when old enough. War is all about cost verses return. $\endgroup$
    – Thorne
    Commented Mar 14, 2018 at 0:14
  • $\begingroup$ If you look at WW2, the Germans made perfectly machined and engineered tanks and the Russians made cheap mass produced junk tanks but they could put out three or more tanks to every German one. The Germans lost. $\endgroup$
    – Thorne
    Commented Mar 14, 2018 at 0:16
  • $\begingroup$ Slaughterbots are basically flying grenades. They are cheap and disposable. They have enough of a control system to make them work but that's it. $\endgroup$
    – Thorne
    Commented Mar 14, 2018 at 0:19
  • $\begingroup$ Quadrupedals have immense issue with certain terrain types. As well as swimming. Human's jointed appendices allow it immense range of movements and any can be easily trained to hold the weight of entire body... So body shape is pretty well designed. And once it can be fortified with implants to increase bone, muscle and skin resistance to damage it becomes rather superior compared to any other life form. Not to mention the fact that in warfare the most versatile design trumps specialization any day. $\endgroup$
    – AcePL
    Commented Mar 14, 2018 at 16:54

Let's look at this from the perspective of technology development

  1. Simple automation. Whether it's a catapult or the motor turning a turret. The first technology developed will be something that enhances, improves, or automates the experience. This technology does not enhance the person, nor can it operate on its own.

  2. Complex automation. Whether it's an exoskeletal prosthesis or an aeronautical drone, this level of technology either replaces the basic abilities of humanity or extends the human reach. It still does not enhance the person, nor can it operate on its own.

  3. At this point the technology diverges... but it's all still being developed. It's impossible to believe that one would "develop first," and if one did (by a day or two) it would be circumstantial at best. On the one hand, having learned how to replace and extend, we now want to enhance and automate. This would lead to implants (rather than prostheses) that enhance the person and the experience (beginning with, perhaps, implanted telecommunications, sensors, emergency medical, etc.) and basic battlefield A.I. (an unmanned, unmonitored, tank, also known as a Bolo, a term coined by author Keith Laumer). This would be the beginnings of cyborgs and "androids."

  4. The final step in this technological chain would be sophisticated human implants and full A.I. automation. If we ignore the specific definition of "android" being a "humanoid" object and allow that some androids may be bipedal, others wheeled, others quadrapedal, etc., then we've reached the point your looking for ... and we have both.

The issue, if you think about it, is that the two technologies (cybernetics and A.I.) have different applications despite what appears to be substantial overlaps. I believe (and it's only my subjective opinion) that cybernetically enhancing a human to do what an equivalent android could do would be much more expensive and result in something more easily damaged ("all that revolting flesh," a quote from the movie, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum).

Therefore, cyborgs would be used in safer applications where the expense can be protected while taking advantage of the intuition and flexibility of the human mind.

Androids would be used in more dangerous applications where judgement is required but where grabbing a replacement off the assembly line is no big deal.

In both cases we're talking about the proverbial "six-million-dollar something", so neither "tool" will be unduly risked. For that we have the common grunt, the traditional G.I. that's easily and cheaply replaced because humans breed like rabbits. When it comes to cannon fodder that needs to follow orders rather than use judement or intuition, it's much more economical to hand the average 18-year-old a gun and a flak jacket.


To me, there are two basic ways to have one nation build androids and another cyborgs:

For cybernetic soldiers to become more commonplace...

If a nation suffers from resource scarcity (in rare-earth metals or semiconductor material), overpopulation and poverty, this could provide incentive to devote resources into making expendable, cybernetic soldiers. This would cut down on overall base-material cost by taking advantage of a plentiful pool of impoverished, displaced peoples.

One strategy to use, for example, would be to supe up humans with basic machine interfaces such as mechanical arms and legs, ocular implants, etc. And then gradually add more machine parts after battle once they receive injuries. This would enhance their performance in future battles.

(I should add, this is a pretty dystopian scenario, but maybe a possible outcome?)

For android soldiers to become more commonplace...

If a nation enjoys resource surplus, small population, and overall economic prosperity, this would provide incentive into researching androids for automated warfare. A small population with a booming economy wouldn't want to sacrifice its own people and couple that with resource-surplus it'd compel this nation to build androids.

I welcome any feedback in my own personal analysis.


Well, you can have either, but I would lean toward cyborg.

Let's analyze this and break it down a bit. This is how my mind works, so humor me, I lean on a very Euclidean way of thinking (with a bit of dyslexia for good measure). It's what makes me such a good programmer. We'll start by defining what these things are.

  • Android - a humanoid robot. But it's much more than that because we have robots and we have robots in humanoid form. So I will define it as a robot controlled by an advanced AI, something that approaches the level of a human mind. Rather or not it has to be sentient (self aware) is a matter for scholarly debate. It also has to take humanoid form. You could have an extremely smart self aware car, like KITT (Knight Industries Two Thousand, from Nightrider) but you would not call it an android, the same applies to drones or aircraft with a high level AI built in.
  • Cyborg - a robotic human. Simply we could say this is the opposite of an android. But it has to be more then that, and it has to be more then humans with mechanical parts, because we already have that. So I will define it as humans consciously controlling robotic parts that are an intimate part of themselves. Like an arm, but not like a pacemaker. Also it is not a human controlling a robot by remote control. We have that too and have had that for sometime, we don't quite have a machine human (brain) interface, but we are close.

A lot of people make the mistake of not defining specifically what they are talking about, I'm not one of them. Perhaps you definition of these things are different then mine. But this is my post, so I will use my definition of them.

So lets outline some of the similarities. They both use mechanical parts that resemble human parts. Now rather or not they are covered in organic skin is not really important to my discussion here.. In other words a metal arm is not fundamentally different then a metal arm covered in skin. Granted there could be some major differences depending on how real you want to make it, does it bleed. is the skin warm, is it mechanically quiet etc. But, the fundamental nature of the "robotic" part could be said to work the same for either an android or a cyborg. You could have an android that has humanoid form that doesn't mimic a human. And you could have a cyborg that has humanoid form but doesn't mimic a human (as described above). So you could have a cyborg that from the outside looks the exact same as an android. On the surface is A=B and B=C, then A=C.

Let's look at the main differences. The simple answer is who is controlling the robotics. A robotic arm is a robotic arm. One controlled by AI would be said to be android, one controlled by an organic human mind would said to be cyborg.

Now these 2 control systems can have very different technologies involved. For a cyborg, it more about the brain machine interface. For an android its more about artificial intelligence. The two things diverge at this point, this is the defining difference. As I said, you could have a robotic body that could be interchangeable between a human brain, and an AI core. This is the main item that separates and defines them.

Now that that is out of the way, I would lean towards cyborg being first. Lets look at the reasons I think this.

It's opinion that it would be easier to build a brain machine interface then to build the brain. It's also hard for us humans to give machines the authority to kill humans. We have problems with this right now with drones, and I doubt we would feel any better with more advanced AI given this authority.

There is also a question of why and it brings to mind a third option you didn't mention. I'll cut to the chase and say what it is. That is genetic engineering, and I mean this on an extreme level(humor me).

Ok, back to the why.

I don't think you can justify building androids solely for war not unless you have a very long time of warfare. Certainly they would could be used in warfare, but I don't think they would be developed for warfare (not as I defined them). It makes no sense from a cost standpoint. You could build a AI drone, or tank. It makes no sense from a giving away your technology standpoint. Enemies will capture some of these at some point. And it makes no sense from a morality standpoint.

The main reason I see developing any of this (humanistic technology) is for medical reasons. People are greedy and selfish, and any way to prolong life, or to increase the quality of ones life are things that one could reasonably expect most people to pursue. If you had an arm severed in an accident, or say even military action. Who wouldn't want to regain the use of an arm? I think most people would. So for that we come full circle with the third option. You can build a new arm, or you can grow one.

Now lets look at the why of an android. I am sure there are reasons, but when compared to the above motivation I find myself searching for one that comes even remotely close to that. Something like a glorified butler just doesn't cut it, nor does building a humanoid to do a job a human wouldn't want to do. Sure you could build one for work people cant do, like going into a nuclear reactor. But than again, you could build some kind of tracked vehicle.

Humanoid robots are hard to build, they are much more complex then a simpler design. Often times the form of human is not a requirement for a robot. It could help to be humanoid, to have arms, but does it have to be. All that extra work to make it humanoid could be directed at making it do it's job better. I think people will always pursue building things like androids, for curiosity sake if nothing else. Besides androids are cool.

Even if you argue some rapid advancement in AI that outpaces a human machine interface. You can still have a useful AI in a box. Having an android body is not a requirement of a useful AI. Having a AI is a requirement of an android. Therefor we could have a useful AI and we could have robotics sophisticated enough for an android body, but putting those 2 things in the same entity are not a requirement of either.

One last thing, we could get to the point in genetics where creating a cyborg doesn't make sense at all. If we could engineer living organism and tissues to fulfill any need one may have of mechanical systems then it could skew the motivations. This was the reason I brought up the third option, because the most important question is why. The how is assumed, because if there was no how we wouldn't be talking about this.

Hope my reasoning makes sense, its a bit rambling. I find it best to always go back to the basic questions of: who, what, where, when, how, and why.


Autonomous killing machines are already possible with current technology.

Half-autonomous killing machines already exist today in form of armed drones. They are capable of flying on their own, but a human operator on the ground still has to pick the target and press the fire button. But there are already prototypes for fully autonomous killing machines. Their real-world application is pretty much right around the corner.

Regarding androids: There is really no good reason why killer robots would need to immitate the human body shape. You can build far more efficient killer machines when you don't have to follow this pointless "must have two legs, two arms and one head" design constraint. Sure, androids can be humanized which makes them useful for human-machine interaction scenarios, but if the main human-machine interaction is to get killed by it, this doesn't really matter.

One highly specialized case where android soldiers could make sense is covert infiltration. But it will still take a while until we can create androids which are so human-like that they can be mistaken for a human. Especially when people actually look for them.

Regarding cyborgs: I doubt that there is anyone who currently seriously considers to add cybernetic augumentations to their soldiers with the goal to improve their combat potential.

Prosthetics to alleviate disabilities acquired in combat exist for centuries (like the pirate's peg leg in the answer by James). But even modern prosthetics are not considered enhancements. They still only lead to a partial restoration of the combat abilities of the soldier at best. Most armies consider people with prosthetic bodyparts not even fit enough for desk duty, yet alone fit for front-line combat.

And then there are ethical problems with amputing a perfectly healthy bodypart just to improve a soldiers combat abilities. Sure, following ethics and winning wars are two priorities which don't go well together, but it's still a barrier to keep in mind.

Before we see the first cyborg soldier armies, prosthesis technology would first have to advance so far that their benefits outweight the cost and the ethical concerns. And that will still take a while.

tl;dr: Definitely killer robots first. Cybernetically enhanced soldiers (maybe) later. Android soldiers are just silly. Android agents might make sense, but for that we need more advanced technology than for cyborg soldiers.

  • $\begingroup$ Sure, androids can be humanized the definition of an android is a robot with the human body form and behaviour. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Android_(robot) . I would have said Sure, robots can be humanized $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 15, 2018 at 1:49
  • $\begingroup$ @ArtisticPhoenix I know the definition of the word "Android". What I meant with "easier to humanize" is that it is easier for humans to feel empathy for a machine with a human shape and face than for a box on wheels, even if they are otherwise functionally identical. That means people will be more inclined to interact with androids as if they were humans. That's what I mean with "humanize" them. You can still "dehumanize" an android by treating it like the machine it is, just like you can "dehumanize" a human by treating them as if they weren't a human being. $\endgroup$
    – Philipp
    Commented Mar 15, 2018 at 9:53

Why not both?

We are currently working on both precursors to such technology: prosthetics (and some orthetics), and 3D printing living cells.

Prosthetics will slowly become more advanced with actuators, engines, power storage and increasingly sophisticated materials that at some point we'll replace or support bodyparts with them. While such tech has been developed for years and every year some company boasts about the newest Electronic hand prosthetic that "is truly like a new hand", the technology is far from the sophistication that our hands are.

3D printing bodyparts is already a thing. Take cells from the person you want to print it for, genetically change them into the cells you want like skincells, then grow them in a petridish and 3D print them in the shape you want. Wait for the cells to adhere to eachother like natural cells do and you have a bodypart! The biggest hurdle with such technology is bloodflow. Your body contains incredible amounts of tiny bloodvessles that make sure every piece of your body keeps getting the oxygen and materials it needs to stay functioning, but they haven't solved it yet when printing bodyparts so all they can do right now is simple, thin/small things like the outside of an ear. Surprisingly cottoncandy might be the solution as it's shape and thinness approximate that of the cappilairies they need to emulate and after building the bodypart you can wash away the cottoncandy easily.

As both technologies progress, you see both become more prevalent. At first you see simple additions to the body and people who can go through life with a prosthetic so lifelike they arent handycapped and orthetics that can aid you like a simple exo-skeleton to carry heavier loads, while simultaneously people migh extend their lives with grown coronaries, a new kidney or clean lung tissue. Then you see prosthetics and orthetics that are superior to the human body, and people will voluntarily replace bodyparts with them creating your cyborgs. 3D printing will also allow people to build new bodyparts superior to those we are born with, like better smelling noses, removing the blindspot in the eyes and building your muscles with the strength and sizd you want. People will also have realised that you can create a new set of genes and not just build a single bodypart, but entire humans out of it. These biological androids would be build from the ground up for the task they will perform, and they'll have superior bobe structure, muscle tissue and the like to benefit from. Depending on cost/efficiency, as well as available resources (fuel/electricity vs food) they would add cybernetics to these androids as they are build. The reverse could also be true: cybernetic parts from various materials become much cheaper and faster to produce, people then start building entire humanoids from these cybernetic parts. Biological parts have properties like constant self repair and lubrication that could still be beneficial for certain components, so parts of these humanoids is replaced with engineered biological components to reduce the cost and reduce the amount of servicing and replacement these humanoids need.

The Final result will likely be the same though: cybernetic implants that are so close to biological components in their functioning and self-sustaining capabilities that it becomes more of a synthetic biological machine, this is supplemented with biological parts that are similarily close to being machine parts. But that is far into the future... Or as far as the singularity is from us.



I think the best approach would be with an avatar technology; mechanical constructs linked to a human controller similar to modern day drones but with advanced interface or sensory capacity. The problem with cyborgs is you lose the experience and time investment when the human host is killed. The problem with androids, as mentioned previously, is that you miss out on the nuanced decision making ability of a living person, barring a super sophisticated AI.

Avatar drones, whether bipedal, quads or flying, would have the benefit of human control while still taking advantage of the latest AI tech; less vital systems could still be automated by the units allowing a squad of drones to be controlled by a single human operator, keying off their position and covering a specific attack vector or surveying the escape route just as players do currently with some video games. Drones could be mass produced, constantly upgraded and easily replaced without impact on the overall experience level of the army of pilots (hmmm, is that an oxymoron?).

  • $\begingroup$ These are not Cyborgs and they are not Androids. That said, I think its a good idea. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 15, 2018 at 1:37


We already have autonomous military drones and autonomous footsoldiers that roughly do the job. Humanesque movement is already becoming old news, so if it were practical to make robotic soldiers in human form, I think it would have been done by now. Their biggest advantage would be over regular robots would probably be their ability to use scavenged equipment from enemies, but adequate equipment for a robotic soldier seems like a tiny cost in comparison to creating the robot itself.

Also, making cyborgs relate to humans (an underacknowledged priority in modern military settings) would probably be much easier than trying to make androids so convincingly humanlike.

  • $\begingroup$ Autonomy is not the same thing as an Android, was KITT from NightRider considered an android? No I have never heard anyone claim that. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 15, 2018 at 1:43
  • $\begingroup$ @ArtisticPhoenix My point is exactly that: We have autonomous machines, but never bothered with androids. $\endgroup$
    – user70585
    Commented Mar 15, 2018 at 19:28

First come the cyborgs, because they are basically humans with technological augmentations.

Then the androids will be superior, because no matter how many augmentations a cyborg could have, it will still have as a base a human and there's a limit to how much you can augment, not to mention you can't redesign from scratch.

Also remember that androids are robots with human appearance, and the restriction of having that appearance has only limited use in warfare. Because it is simpler and most effective the first robots would be like the drones or armored vehicles. After that I can easily see an armored and weaponized version of this used in combat:




To answer this question you may need to know that one of the simplest resources used in much of human warfare is humans we see it going back to the time of the Neanderthals to modern day when this question was being asked. If we look at common global population growth it would not be immpossible for there to be a line of expendabele humans to be used and turned into cyborgs but also in some other countries in the world using the USA as an example and http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/us-population/ as a reasorce the growth in population is going down due to a variaty of reasons one of them can be that there is simply not a need to have large families even in ones that once usually had seven kids and then those children had seven more kids are instead are choosing to stop at one or two. So, if your idea of the world relies heavily on overpopulation then humanity will likely turn to the more cyborg side of things with others using androids if they can or don't have the population growth to justify the costs of sending people out to fight. Leading to both being created and used in the world but the amount of them being used will vary depending on what the country or area they're from will have in terms of population

  • $\begingroup$ Population has been decreasing because it's a net extra cost to raise a large family. In the past, kids would add value by working on the farm etc. It was more economic to have more children. This is the same reason more developed countries have less children. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 15, 2018 at 1:42

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