A former Gurkha has warned how AI going rogue on the battlefield could signal the start of a Terminator-style takeover.
And he insists young humans should be encouraged to sign up to the military instead.
Ritesh Chams served for 11 years in the Royal Gurkha Rifles and has channelled his real-life experience into upcoming film Gurkha Warrior, where he plays a war hero.
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Nepal-born Ritesh, who now lives in Reading, says: “There are a lot of options in the future. The military sector is no ordinary job. It’s hard to replace anybody.
“What if the robots are out of control? How will they know who is on which side? And what about self-driving vehicles?
“There are positives to AI being helpful towards humans but we will have to wait and see about them on the battlefield.”
After being shot in Afghanistan in 2010, Ritesh was medically discharged five years later.
He says: “My grandparents were Gurkhas and I never had the chance to speak with my father as I was three when he died.
“Mostly we want to follow our forefathers. A lot of Gurkhas came over to settle in the UK.
“Plenty of Gurkha children are signing up at Sandhurst after university – being in the military is in our DNA. We should have more information out to young people who are in front of computers and want to get rich quick. I’d say to them you can have an adventurous life if you join the military.
“When I joined I had never left Nepal then got to explore 25 countries.”
More than 46,000 Gurkhas have died fighting for the British crown since they transferred from the Indian Army in 1947.
As well as battle ability, Gurkhas have to show off extra skills by performing in a talent show before finding out if they have secured a place in our Army.
Ritesh, 39, has been acting since childhood and after leaving the Army he turned to it professionally.
As Corporal Birkha Badadur Rai in Gurkha Warrior he performed his own stunts and drew on stories of his grandfather, who was a Gurkha during the Malayan Emergency.
That saw British troops deployed to combat a Communist insurgency against colonial rule between 1948-1960 and is the time setting of the movie.
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He says: “We want to tell the world Gurkhas have been in the British military for 200 years.
“When I got shot, during my recovery period I worked with the charity Walking With The Wounded then when I was medically discharged I ended up meeting this director. It was really hard being on the frontline.
“We had to play with the real threat – it wasn’t like some computer game – it was life threatening.
“After being hit I would consider this my bonus life. Many of my colleagues didn’t make it home.”
The Gurkha selection process, which is only open to people from Nepal, is one of the hardest in the world with challenges including carrying a 35kg of sand and rocks on the back.
In 2009 all retired Gurkhas won the right to live in the UK.
Our royal family has strong connections with Gurkhas dating back to 1876 when the future Edward VII became the first Colonel-in-Chief.
In 1954 Queen Elizabeth, above left, reintroduced the appointment of The Queen’s Gurkha Orderly Officer, where two were given the job of joining her at official functions, which has now passed over to King Charles, above.
Ritesh says: “The Queen has been respected around the world with the Gurkhas and it is sad not having her here now. But King Charles has been very supportive of us. Every member of the royal family has been family to the Gurkhas.”
Gurkha Warrior’s premiere will be held at IMAX Cineworld, Leicester Square in London on September 10 ahead of a UK release on November 10.
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