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Subject: OT- Robot Soldiers Will Fight For Us! rss

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Leo Zappa
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Well, it's been coming, and now, apparently, it's here - AOL (yes, I use AOL) leading news story "Robot Soldiers Will Fight For Us!" Here is the lead in to the story:

(Feb. 16) - The American military is working on a new generation of soldiers, far different from the army it has.
"They don't get hungry," said Gordon Johnson of the Joint Forces Command at the Pentagon. "They're not afraid. They don't forget their orders. They don't care if the guy next to them has just been shot. Will they do a better job than humans? Yes."
The robot soldier is coming.
The Pentagon predicts that robots will be a major fighting force in the American military in less than a decade, hunting and killing enemies in combat. Robots are a crucial part of the Army's effort to rebuild itself as a 21st-century fighting force, and a $127 billion project called Future Combat Systems is the biggest military contract in American history.

Politics aside (or maybe not), I just don't know what to make of this, if its a good thing or a bad thing - seems like it would make going to war a lot easier (which is not good) if the politicians didn't have to weigh the loss of their soldier's lives.

From the gaming perspective - probably a good geeklist subject - wargames with robots!
robotrobotrobotrobotrobotrobotrobotrobot
 
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Michael Pennisi
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I was just checking that out. Is anyone else thinking live action Robo-Rally?

As a physicist I think they are cool but it saddens me that they are being developed for war.
 
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Li'l Ronnie Post
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Geeks in the Army
Quote:
Robots are a crucial part of the Army's effort to rebuild itself as a 21st-century fighting force, and a $127 billion project called Future Combat Systems is the biggest military contract in American history.

My cousin (with whom I used to play "army" as a kid) just turned down a job involved in the oversight of this. With regrets (he'd have to wear a uniform longer, and couldn't free himself from his current job). He said it was extremely interesting.. Dang. Now that would be one interesting job for a geek... unfortunately, I'm no longer in uniform and can't apply.
 
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Sean Swart
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That's just the way of this world.
Quote:
I was just checking that out. Is anyone else thinking live action Robo-Rally?

As a physicist I think they are cool but it saddens me that they are being developed for war.


Just about all inventions come about because goverments want to out do one another. That is just the way of this world.robot

Sean
 
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A L D A R O N
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Quote:
Just about all inventions come about because goverments want to out do one another.

"Just about all" by what measure?
 
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Have faith
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So maybe instead of the draft, we can all sponsor our own robot on the front lines. And receive back letters, war stories, tales of valor, etc. Think of the movie possibilities: Saving Private Robby, The Longest Nanosecond, All Quiet at the Western Recharging Station....

Or we could train young video game whizzes, who think they are playing a game but all the while are actually controlling real weapons by remote control. Wait, that one's been done.

Or we could grow up as a race and stop fighting altogether. Think of the money it would save.

meeple
 
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Leo Zappa
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Kinda disturbing...
Looking at the story again, it has that "Starship Troopers" (the movie) quality to it - all that's missing is the infamous "Do you want to know more?" line!

robotsauronrobot
 
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Jorgen
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Cool, So when Are we going to start seeing OGRE MK III's on the front lines?
 
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Li'l Ronnie Post
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If we told you, we'd have to..
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Cool, So when Are we going to start seeing OGRE MK III's on the front lines?


File a FOIA and find out! gulp
 
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James
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This article is probably referring to remotely operated vehicles. Dictionary.com[1] says:
2. A machine or device that operates automatically or by remote control.

but Merriam-Webster, Cambridge, and Oxford[2] all say "automatically" or "controlled by a computer". And I agree with the latter. There is a large difference between a DARPA Challange style automonous vehicle and a radio-controlled car.

The predator, a remotely-piloted aircraft, has already fired hellfire missles in combat. Remote control weapons will be pretty common in 10 years, but the terminator style killer-robots that this article is alluding to are a long, long ways off. Neither the Pentagon brass nor the Capitol Hill politicians are willing to employ autonomous tanks or bombers anytime soon.

In other semantics, the century old landmine could be considered an autonomous weapon.

[1] http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=robot
[2] http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=rob...
http://dictionary.cambridge.org/define.asp?key=68311&dict=CA...
http://www.oup.com/elt/global/products/oald/lookup/
 
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Leo Zappa
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Reading the article...
...it's clear they mean Terminator style hunter killers, although they do say that humanoid style units are probably not likely to see the light of day until ~2035. These early versions are tread units, but do have arms (the right one is a machine gun!) and heads (with video/infrared sensors). Also, these early versions are for the most part remotely controlled by humans. The goal however is clear - Terminators!!! robotrobotrobot Or better yet, Cylons!!! thumbsup(Battlestar Galactica TNS being my fav show of this season, right behind 24).
 
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Brad Miller
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No Cylons
Zettian Guards...

With a small platoon of Omicron Snipers, and their commander

Deathwalker robot
 
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Daniel Kearns
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Ahhh, God bless DARPA. Hmmm, what should we research next, rail guns or disintegrator rays? I can't decide, they both look so good.

Robot soldiers are a great idea tho, too bad it'll only be a matter of time until they turn us all into batteries.
 
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Steve Downin
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At the risk of being labelled a peacenik, I think "robotic soldiers" are an EXTREMELY bad idea.

A) There is the distinct possibility that when robotic weapons systems are combined with AI, you do have a potential Teminator/Cylon/Matrix scenario should their programming evolve.

B) It will just make it that much easier to justify a war. "Who cares. None of our people are gonna die. Just some robots and the bad guys. Why shouldn't we send them in to invade this other country?" At least there's a modicum of restraint right now when it comes to committing our troops into armed conflict. Those in charge have to weigh the benefit of the victory against the expected loss of life and the resultant public outcry over that loss of life. With no, or reduced, "good guy" human losses because of robots, the disincentive to war disappears. When there's human lives on the line, most people tend to be more thoughtful about these things, because on some level, we're all human, and value human life, and do not want to see it needlessly wasted.

 
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Li'l Ronnie Post
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Nothing wrong with peacniks, but..
... think about what you're saying.
Quote:
A) There is the distinct possibility that when robotic weapons systems are combined with AI, you do have a potential Teminator/Cylon/Matrix scenario should their programming evolve.

Really? Dude - Science. Science, meet Dude. Dude, you've been watching too many movies.

Quote:
When there's human lives on the line, most people tend to be more thoughtful about these things, because on some level, we're all human, and value human life, and do not want to see it needlessly wasted.

Again, really? What frigging planet do you live on?
Ever hear of.. oh, I don't know.. crime? Criminals? Bad guys?
Or maybe they're just being special in their own equally special ways.
I'm all for peace. One legitimate tool, even if sometimes overused, is force and the threat of it. If you accept the need for a military (a different topic), then given the implacably advancing nature of technology, it makes perfect sense to improve warfare capabilities - not to mention SAVING FRIGGING LIVES.

SHEESH. Nothing personal dude, but being a vet, it's nice to know you stand behind your mates so squarely. Maybe you'd like us to fight with one hand behind our backs, too? Perhaps you thought it was "unfair" for the American Revolutionaries to shoot from *gasp* behind trees, as well?

Sorry. Being something of a (realistic) peacenik myself, I don't think it does that cause any good to not think through the ramifications of such arguments. As in being told your life is worth less to someone unwilling to be bothered to think carefully. Personally, I'm in favor of avoiding the use of force unless absolutely necessary - but when neccessary, applying it extremely well in an extremely forceful fashion. No human life is conserved by doing things half ass. Someone earlier implicitly mentioned Ender's Game. Great book. Read it - there is some real food for thought in there about the nature and need of deterrence.

"Robots" - and the less dramatic but more realistic RC systems (as well as the "smart" and "enhancing" armor being developed, but not being talked about here) are tools. If you have a philosophical problem here, I suggest it's not really with the tools but more properly with the USE of such tools. The important thing is to make sure they are not used unless necessary - but when necessary, ensure you have GOOD tools AND know how to use them. Both processes saves lives - mushy thinking doesn't. Knowing when to use them is a topic for a different thread, though.

War, as a concept, is to be avoided as much as possible, but is not itself, out of context, by definition, evil or wrong. While I can respect anyone who is honestly and sincerely a conscientious objector (but have a spare Darwin Award for them around here somewhere) - I thank God they weren't our ancestors. Even Ghandi observed that those who won't fight when necessary to protect their families are simply cowards.
 
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RPV
Lil Ronnie Post is right. I agree with pretty much everything he says. Weird. I usually don't agree with anyone.

So I have a good customer who pilots RPV's in Iraq. He has many excellent stories to tell and each and every one of those stories is underlined with one important fact - not a single US soldier is at risk while the RPV does it's work. Whether they are on photo recon missions, or being used to draw fire (they remove the mufflers and the terrorists shoot at them unaware that a camoflauged camera unit is flying at a higher altitude sending images back to HQ as to the whereabouts and hidey-holes the bad guys are using) or sometimes armed with rockets, the cost of these robots aircraft is low and the simple fact that they can do the work they do in an urban setting without risking lives is wonderful.

On the news the other night I saw a special report about the insanity that prevails where mothers in the mideast - both Iraq and from Palastine - are urging their teenaged boys and daughters to strap on explosive vests and kill infidels. Several of the film clips showed the youngsters being cordoned off and then approached by the same type of robots bomb sqauds in the USA employ. It seems a number of these mislead children simply take the vests off and surrender at that point.

It's difficult for me to see any negatives with this approach.
 
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James
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found the link!
I think this is the article in question:
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/212243_robots16.html

Quote:
Though controlled by a soldier with a laptop, the robot will be the first thinking machine of its kind to take up a front-line infantry position, ready to kill enemies.


The machine is doing no thinking. In this and other areas the article is trying to sound dramatic.
 
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