The psychological thriller based on Stanislaw Lem’s work unravels in the present day or in the very near future. Western society is tired of the military ‘peace missions’ into conﬂict regions of third world countries. Too much blood and resources have ﬂown into foreign desert sand.
The one way out – both ethically and materially – is to replace human soldiers with robots. Artiﬁcial intelligence, which is not inﬂuenced by fear or vengeance, would make more rational decisions on the battleﬁeld than humans. It would not need training, sleep or food. It could continue functioning even when it is severely injured and the casualties among the ‘machines’ would leave the public unmoved.
The secret development of the robot soldiers, who cannot be differentiated from humans by their appearance, has reached the practical testing phase. The position of the commander of the experimental intelligence team is offered to the highly experienced NATO ofﬁcer Pirx (35) who feels very uneasy about artiﬁcial intelligence making decisions about human lives.
That is why he is considered to be the perfect candidate. If the critically biassed commander approved of the robots, it would the most compelling argument for the mass production of robot soldiers. If he gave a negative report, those who thought these developments would be disastrous and the project should be immediately ended would be in the right.