In my research about using robots in warfare, I came across an article detailing the psychology of using them. This relates to human nature and emotion which results in the formation of attachments - even in the case of inanimate objects. We get glimpses of this phenomenon through the media with movies such as Wall-E. There are real instances, however, that indicate that the connections we form with the machines that work with us and for us are real and strong. A famous example of this involves the "death" of the Mars Rover, Opportunity, referred to as "Oppy", in 2018. After multiple attempts to contact the rover, NASA "sang her to sleep" with "I'll Be Seeing You", a song about missing a loved one.
These connections extend into the battlefield. Soldiers have been known to assign names and genders to the robots they interact with, often naming them after human friends, family, and even spouses. Testimony has revealed that soldiers talk to these objects and protect them, often experiencing strong emotions of loss and anger when the robot is destroyed in war. In some cases, soldiers even held funerals for destroyed machines, posthumously awarding them medals and honors, making the effort to make badges and glue them on.
The psychology of human-robot connections is interesting as even those that love the robots and treat them as friends or pets are aware of the practicalities of sacrificing the machines if necessary. This does not, however, prevent them from forming bonds and experiencing loss. The strength of these relationships is much like human ones, enhanced by proximity and shared experiences such as combat. This means that soldiers do not feel as connected to drones or aerial weapons even if they are smarter or stronger; it is the ones on the ground that elicit these emotions.
The advantage to this phenomenon is that soldiers will protect these machines thereby reducing the chances of destruction and costs of repairs and/or replacement. The disadvantage is that with the rapidly evolving technology, it is possible that these machines become more life-like, thereby further strengthening the attachments felt by those that work alongside them. This means that in the event that the machines are destroyed, soldiers may feel emotions almost as strong as if a human were killed in battle, resulting in similar stress and trauma.