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Knights unhorsed by commoners

Posted April. 24, 2018 07:37,   

Updated April. 24, 2018 07:37


At the sound of drums, foot soldiers march shoulder to shoulder in three lines. Even amidst the sporadic firing of shells, they keep advancing forward in a steadfast manner. In this usual battle scene during the 17th Century, a general must have felt so proud of his brave soldiers, watching them moving forward. However, if a knight in a plate mail had watched the same scene 200 years later, he would have shouted “Who on earth made those peasants fight like that?” instead of taking pride in them.

During the Middle Ages, it cost quite much to become a heavily armed knight, more than the price of 50 cows. Thus, it was certainly logical that each feud had only one knight back then. And as already proved in a number of ancient battles, it was more than easy to unhorse a knight if peasants were trained and given with long spears. We never know whether knights forgot or pretended not to know the fact that they could be easily removed, but the day finally came when knights were brought down from the horseback by commoners.

Back to the 17th Century again, there was also a general who felt the sense of fear watching the line of foot soldiers marching amid a desultory shower of shells. Antoine-Henri Jomini, a Swiss officer who served on the staff on Napoleon Bonaparte, sensed that cannons would be further advanced to completely shatter infantrymen and argued in his own book that an international treaty needed to be signed to ban the use of cannons.

There are rising voices of opposition against the development of robot weapons using artificial intelligence (AI). For sure, the dignity of humankind and efforts towards peace should be respected. Yet, as if we cannot stop our hair turning gray with a club as we get old, there is no point opposing the development of technologies, which has been already taking place. In fact, there is not a single technology developed by men that is not ambivalent. What we truly need is sensible intelligence to rightly use the technology and the sound structure of society. As much as we have developed technologies to the point they can be almost self-destructive, now is the time we have to work on the level of intelligence to keep up with the speed.