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SCI/TECH: Robot Soldiers Headed for Iraq

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posted on Jan, 23 2005 @ 10:52 AM
The Talon robot, in military use since 2000 for disabling explosives, has been undergoing some major upgrades. The Army working in a joint effort with the robotics firm Foster-Miller, has equipped the Talon from a defensive device into the "SWORD", a robot capable of firing weapons with accuracy beyond the capability of the soldiers contolling it. Eighteen of these robots are scheduled to be sent to Iraq beginning in March or April.
Its developers say the SWORDS not only allows its operators to fire at enemies without exposing themselves to return fire, but also can make them more accurate.

A typical soldier who could hit a target the size of a basketball from 300 meters away could hit a target the size of a nickel with the SWORDS, according Quinn.

The better accuracy stems largely from the fact that its gun is mounted on a stable platform and fired electronically, rather than by a soldier's hands, according to Staff Sgt. Santiago Tordillos of the EOD Technology Directorate at Picatinny. Gone are such issues as trigger recoil, anticipation problems, and pausing the breathing cycle while aiming a weapon.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

The SWORD is in no way capable of acting on it's own, it is not programmed to actually fire weapons without the decision of the operator. However, the soldier in this application is now out of harms way and can fire with much more precision. I can think of many altercations that have already taken place where this robot could have provided an opportunity to save a few lives, civilian as well as military.

The SWORD appears to be extremely rugged and it will be interesting to see it's effectiveness in actual use. What are the implications for the future of this technology, especially in light of the fact that no weapon remains in the hands of one country very long? I can also see, as with any weapon, that there are a lot of scenarios where a device like this can cause as much harm as good, particularly if it gets into the wrong hands.

Related ATS Discussion
Talon Robots into Iraq in Spring!

[edit on 23-1-2005 by Spectre]

posted on Feb, 16 2006 @ 09:15 PM
Anime As Prophecy

I'm getting “No Article Found.” at the cited source link, but that won't keep me from commenting anyway.

Of course, this is nothing new. Japanese mecha anime has been exploring the technical, commercial, practical, entertainment, stylistic and even spiritual issues surrounding the use of robots in combat since the 1950s.

Needless to say, this consequently gives Japan a decisive edge in the rapidly-evolving field of robotic combat.

The Looks That Kill

Where Japan really trounces the U.S. is in the category of style, and SWORDS exemplifies this.

Just look at it:

Fig. 1: S.W.O.R.D.S. combat robot

Ho hum. How bland and uninspiring. Great if you want to bore the enemy to death.

No self-respecting Japanese robot designer would sign his name to such a monstrosity.

Thankfully, development is moving forward in Japan on a project I am particularly excited about: a mechanized haibane-based multipurpose high-mobility combat unit known as the RX-78 Guridam GP03, or Dendro Rakka:

Fig. 2: Dendro Rakka, the latest in cute winged robotic combat

No enemy can possibly stand against Dendro Rakka! Phear teh WingZ of DOOM!!!

Good thing the U.S. and Japan are allies.

Oh, and um... as for the actual topic, my attitude is that it's about damn time.

Beware, though: one thing leads to another, and sure enough, though it may be about ten or twenty years later than predicted, if we keep on this course, Skynet will be running the world with literally an iron hand.

Mark Linda Hamilton's words.

Dendro Rakka appears courtesy of yasunon at


posted on Feb, 16 2006 @ 09:38 PM
Majic you frickin' leeto burrito NERD!

Robots with guns.
Didn't like it before.
Don't like it now.

If a human can control it, so can a computer. When computers are told what to do, they do it. Exactly as they are told. This can be bad. Especially if the computer has access to guns.

posted on Feb, 16 2006 @ 10:13 PM
I view robotic combat as both a positive and a negative. Of course, nothing is ever really clear-cut in war, so maybe that's as good as it'll ever get...

On the positive side, our side suffers less casualties and it'd be great if this could be used for disabling mines and such things that aren't really combat related but just to prevent casualties to our side.

On the negative side, when you aren't really there, you don't suffer the full reality of it. It's video game combat in a way.


posted on Feb, 16 2006 @ 11:27 PM

Originally posted by Damocles
i dont think ai research has come anywhere near far enough to worry that robots will be able to enter combat autonemously (sp?) for years and years yet. besides...regardless of ai research, a computer will simply never have the discretionary ability that a human will.

Computers thinking for themselves isn't really my concern.
Computers doing what theyre told, is.
If, using a computer, the intended operator is able to control the weapon, then an unintended operator is equally capable. As communication with this machine will most likely not be via a copper wire, the avenues for penetration increase significantly. An enemy operative with a handy dandy Hack-A-Bot remote control unit could literally turn one of our tools into an enemy assassin.

posted on Feb, 16 2006 @ 11:33 PM

Originally posted by Damocles
out of curiosity, not attacking your opinion in anyway, i just wonder what you feel the benefit to 'the full reality' is?

Sorry, I meant to explain that further in my previous post.

I haven't been in the military and I've never killed anyone, so I can't speak from experience. But I do think that facing the reality of war firsthand makes one realize the horror that war is and not become calloused as in modern warfare where you can just push a button and send a missile on its way and never see the results of your action.

Sort of the same way I think it might be good if the people who sent nations to war used to be soldiers to realize that war should always be the last option when all else has failed. But I don't really think the Presidency should be limited to former members of the military, that's just sort of some odd rambling semi-idealistic yet very-unintelligent thought.

Actually, just ignore that last paragraph completely.

[edit on 16-2-2006 by LoganCale]


posted on Feb, 17 2006 @ 08:44 AM
If someone can hack AC3I, Im sure sincgars could get owned as well.

Correct it is doubtful that someone could sit down with a laptop behind a hill and crack the encryption. However, it has been repeatedly demonstrated that we will arm our enemies with the means needed to obtain our own goals. I'm certainly not saying this would happen with these bots, just that it has happened before in other unrelated circumstances. Having a remote operated mobile gun platform is just begging for a stolen control unit to fall into enemy hands, either intentionally or not. There are just too many possibilities. A spy could even modify the remote to receive commands from a second external source. To my knowledge there is no precident for such a device hence such an incident, so how can we be sure what the outcome would be by implimenting a weapon like this?

Of course this would be an amazing tool for structure clearing and hot recon, but it's one of many doors that we may not be able to close. A natural possible eventuality is robots fighting robots. When things get to this point the solution is obvious: nuke the button pushers.


posted on Feb, 17 2006 @ 12:02 PM
Well definitely anyone could build their own out of Legos, but that wouldn't make for a very good wolf now would it?

I know it's highly unlikely that something like this would actually happen, but Im just making up an example of how giving guns to robots can quickly become a very bad situation.


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