As many of you know, my books feature the Armored Infantry in combat in the 24th century. What this would look like would be humans encased in approx. 2.5m tall exoskeletons equipped with weaponry, supplies, armor, etc. They would be able to operate in all environments, carry very heavy loads, move fast and far, and shoot a variety of weapons better than the unaided infantryman. At this point, such powered armored suits are not available.
Something, though, tells me that people want this to happen. After all, humans are constantly looking for better ways of killing. The Armored Infantryman will eventually become a battlefield reality, I can almost guarantee it. Whether the suits are manned or unmanned is really the key question (I think for the foreseeable future they will be manned).
That’s why it peaked my interest when I became aware of the METHOD-2, a powered and manned robot created “for extreme environments” where humans might have some difficulty surviving. From what I’ve read, applications would be search and rescue, cargo handling, etc. But when you see an image of the crazy thing, its military applications are obvious as well.
And really, what better suits the description of “dangerous, extreme environments” than combat? From all reports, the METHOD-2 won’t be ready for combat or search and rescue work any time soon. Most videos I’ve seen show the robot attached to power leads. In the famous picture of Jeff Bezos in one at his MARS show you can clearly see that the machine is held up by chains. Of course, that was probably for safety reasons at a public venue. I do not doubt that the machine can stand.
For any type of practical work, the power lines and chains will have to go, obviously.
For me the import of METHOD-2 isn’t in its remarkable appearance or cool factor. It’s in the fact that people are paying a LOT of money towards research along these lines. It won’t be tomorrow, but machines like the METHOD-2 will be fielded in the future by both civilians and governmental organizations.
If the government fields such a machine, rest assured it will be armed.
No, I don’t see any lack of employment for the infantry into the future. What I see is an extreme enhancement of their ability and lethality through machines like the METHOD-2.