Nikola Tesla? Apocryphal?
Dear Quote investigator: The famous inventor Nikola Tesla envisioned a future in which human lives would be spared during warfare because advanced technology would allow the construction of fighting automatons. This would transform “battle into a mere spectacle” of machines in combat. Tesla hoped that the end of bloodshed would lead to an enduring peace. I am looking for a citation. Would you please help?
Quote investigator: In 1900 Nikola Tesla published an article in “The Century Magazine”. He described his construction of a model boat that could be steered and controlled via wireless signals. He called the device a “telautomaton”, and he suggested that full scale vessels could carry explosives. He also imagined more advanced telautomatons able to act independently of human control. Yet, Tesla’s paradoxical goal was the end of warfare. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI: 1
So long as men meet in battle, there will be bloodshed. Bloodshed will ever keep up barbarous passion. To break this fierce spirit, a radical departure must be made, an entirely new principle must be introduced, something that never existed before in warfare—a principle which will forcibly, unavoidably, turn the battle into a mere spectacle, a play, a contest without loss of blood. To bring on this result men must be dispensed with: machine must fight machine. But how accomplish that which seems impossible?
The answer is simple enough: produce a machine capable of acting as though it were part of a human being—no mere mechanical contrivance, comprising levers, screws, wheels, clutches, and nothing more, but a machine embodying a higher principle, which will enable it to perform its duties as though it had intelligence, experience reason, judgment, a mind!
Below are additional excerpts and selected citations in chronological order.