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Pentagon Prepares to Build Robot Army PDF Print E-mail
Peace News
Monday, 14 March 2005 12:25
Pentagon Prepares to Build Robot Army

A third of the ground vehicles and a third of deep-strike aircraft in the military are expected to become robotic by 2010... They don't care if the guy next to them has just been shot. Will they do a better job than humans? Yes.

Date: Sat, 19 Feb 2005 11:14:32 -0800
From: GS Listkeeper < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Subject: Pentagon prepares to build robot army
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At a time when we should be thinking about world governance and peace, the
States are preparing to launch robotic armies on us.

 

Pentagon prepares to build robot army

"They do not get hungry, they are not afraid"
CAMERON SIMPSON

The Herald (Scotland)
February 17, 2005
http://www.theherald.co.uk/news/33634.html

- -In less than a decade robots are expected to become a
major fighting force within US Army ranks.
- -"They don't care if the guy next to them has just
been shot. Will they do a better job than humans?
Yes."
- -A third of the ground vehicles and a third of
deep-strike aircraft in the military are expected to
become robotic by 2010.
- -As the first lethal robots head for Iraq, the role of
the robot soldier as a killing machine has barely been
debated.
- -"I have been asked what happens if the robot destroys
a school bus rather than a tank parked nearby. We will
not entrust a robot with that decision until we are
confident they can make it."

Look out. With a war chest of 67.3bn  the biggest in
US military history the robot army is on its way.
They do not get hungry, they are not afraid and they
don't forget their orders.

By April, an armed version of the bomb-disposal robot,
capable of firing 1000 rounds a minute, will be at
work in Baghdad.

Although controlled by a soldier with a laptop, the
robot soldier  R2-D2 with an attitude will be the
first thinking machine of its kind to take up a
front-line infantry position, ready to kill enemies.

"The real world is not Hollywood," said Rodney Brooks,
director of the Computer Science and Artificial
Intelligence Laboratory at Massachusetts Institute of
Technology and a co-founder of the iRobot Corporation.

"Right now we have the first few robots that are
actually useful to the military."

While not yet ready to be used as a fighting force,
hundreds of robots have been deployed to dig up
roadside bombs in Iraq, scour caves in Afghanistan and
guard weapons depots.

In less than a decade robots are expected to become a
major fighting force within US Army ranks.

Technological advances made possible by the ?67.3bn
($127bn) Future Combat Systems contract will allow
them to hunt and kill enemies while their human
controllers remain a safe distance away, carefully
monitoring proceedings through a laptop.

The one metre-tall "soldiers" will be equipped with
tank tracks, night vision and mounted automatic
weapons.

Gordon Johnson, of the Joint Forces Command at the
Pentagon, said: "They don't get hungry, 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."

Experts say the new generation of soldiers will be
increasingly capable of thinking, seeing and reacting
like humans.

In the beginning, they will be remote-controlled,
looking and acting like lethal toy trucks.

As the technology develops, they may take many shapes.
Robots in battle, as envisaged by their builders, may
look and move like humans or hummingbirds, tractors or
tanks, cockroaches or crickets.

With the development of nanotechnology ? the science
of very small structures ? they may become swarms of
"smart dust".

The Pentagon intends robots to haul munitions, gather
intelligence, search buildings or blow them up.

As technology advances, so will the robots'
intelligence and autonomy, although officials are
quick to point out that these are not the killing
machines of science fiction such as the Terminator, a
human-looking, apparently unstoppable cyborg, or
RoboCop, "part man, part machine, all cop, the future
of law enforcement".

The first models will only shoot when a human operator
presses a button after identifying a target on video
recorded by the robot's cameras.

Automated forces could save lives but the cost is
expected to drive the US defence budget up by almost
20%. The annual costs of buying new weapons will rise
52% to ?62.9bn ($118.6bn).

But while progress has been rapid, critics warn there
will be many questions to answer before the military
programmes machinery to kill, trusting science with
human life.

A third of the ground vehicles and a third of
deep-strike aircraft in the military are expected to
become robotic by 2010.

The Pentagon believes it could take until 2035 to
develop a robot that looks, thinks and fights like a
soldier.

Well before then, some involved in the work say the
military will have to answer tough questions if it
intends to trust robots with the responsibility of
distinguishing friend from foe, combatant from
bystander.

As the first lethal robots head for Iraq, the role of
the robot soldier as a killing machine has barely been
debated.

Even the strongest advocates of automatons say war
will always be a human endeavour, with death and
disaster.

Supporters such as Robert Finkelstein, president of
Robotic Technology, said: "The Pentagon's goal is
there but the path is not totally clear."

The history of warfare suggests that every new
technological leap ? the longbow, the tank, the atomic
bomb ? outraces the strategy and doctrine to control
it.

Mr Johnson, who leads robotics efforts at the Joint
Forces Command research centre, said: "The lawyers
tell me there are no prohibitions against robots
making life-or-death decisions.

"I have been asked what happens if the robot destroys
a school bus rather than a tank parked nearby. We will
not entrust a robot with that decision until we are
confident they can make it."

Trusting robots with potentially lethal
decision-making may require a leap of faith in
technology not everyone is ready to make.

Bill Joy, a co-founder of Sun Microsystems, has
expressed concerns that twenty-first century robotics
and nanotechnology may become "so powerful that they
can spawn whole new classes of accidents and abuses".

He added: "As machines become more intelligent, people
will let machines make more of their decisions for
them.

"Eventually a stage may be reached at which the
decisions necessary to keep the system running will be
so complex that human beings will be incapable of
making them intelligently.

"At that stage the machines will be in effective
control."


--------------------

Pentagon prepares to build ?70bn robot army
By Francis Harris in Washington
(Filed: 17/02/2005)

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/02/17/wrobot17.xml&sSheet
=/ne
ws/2005/02/17/ixworld.html

The Pentagon is spending ?70 billion ($132.65 billion) on a programme to
build heavily-armed robots for the battlefield in the hope that future wars
will be fought without the loss of its soldiers' lives.

The scheme, known as Future Combat Systems, is the largest military contract
in American history and will help to drive the defence budget up by almost
20 per cent to just over

Last Updated on Monday, 14 March 2005 12:25
 

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