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Biomass eating robot?

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posted on Feb, 16 2009 @ 10:04 PM
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One problem current unmanned vehicles and robots face is power. They either require short missions or large fuel tanks.

One company aims to solve that problem with "EATR," which stands for "Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot." It's a robot that detects biomass - living matter, that is - and consumes it for energy.



Expected to survive autonomously for extended periods of time in hostile conditions, Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs) could be seen as decidedly unglamorous in comparison to their airborne cousins – and none more so than the proposed Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot (EATR) from Robotic Technology, which will suffer the indignity of ingesting and expelling biomass to fuel itself, presumably with no toilet paper.

www.gizmag.com...


Does anyone else see the problem with this? According to the article I linked to, the company plans to create these robots for civilian and military applications. Either way, we're talking about robots that eat living things for dinner.

It's the "military applications" that has me concerned. It's bad enough that the military wants increasingly autonomous, artificially intelligent robots - now they're looking into robots that eat the living?

I'm sure the robots will be programmed to look for plant matter, but what happens when the artificial intelligence reaches the point where the robot can say, "Hey, my mission is high priority, and the only biomass available is those people over there?"

Here's a bit more reading material for anyone interested:

Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot (EATR) Project

EATR - DARPA's Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot

EATR Robot Runs On Soylent Green




posted on Feb, 16 2009 @ 10:38 PM
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We eat living things, and so do all animals. Don't see why it matters if robots do. Indirectly, most robots run on power generated by burning fossil fuels, which comes from biomass. Does not having millions of years of separation bother you that much?



posted on Feb, 16 2009 @ 10:46 PM
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Hahahaha. Yea I see the problem.. When it starts eating children.



posted on Feb, 16 2009 @ 10:54 PM
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i haven't heard of this before but i would love to see a robot hunt down a cow


soon robots will be blamed for the mass depopulation of animals.



posted on Feb, 16 2009 @ 10:56 PM
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reply to post by iced_blue
 


Remember: biomass includes plants, algae, fungus, bacteria, etc. Plants are easier to catch than animals.



posted on Feb, 16 2009 @ 11:07 PM
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As long it sticks to eating grass I'm cool...

So THATS why the T1000 was after John Conner...GET IN MY BELLY!!!



posted on Feb, 16 2009 @ 11:10 PM
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You should probably get a job programming AI since it's so easy for this machine to tell the difference between biomass.



posted on Feb, 17 2009 @ 01:10 AM
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I'm sure it won't be designed to hunt animals or people. I'm sure it will be built to seek out plants, since plants can't run away or escape. But what if this thing is being used in a desert? What if there's no suitable source of plant life?

If this thing is programmed to seek out biomass, use weapons, and complete its mission at all costs, what if it determines that a dead person is just as plant-like as its intended diet?



posted on Feb, 17 2009 @ 01:36 AM
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This was to be expected. What bothers me is not that a robot is being created to fuel itself on biomass, but the fact it takes so much of it (150 lbs for 100 miles) when compared to the human body. On the one side, it's a modest reminder of just how amazing the human body is, and on the other, it serves to demonstrate how much longer technology has to go before it catches up to us.

A robot that consumes biomass seems rather natural to me from a technological evolutionary standpoint, but the problems will come not when AI grows but simply when such technology becomes self-replicating. The most cost-efficient systems are those that can self-propel, self-fuel, self-repair, and self-replicate. The latter of these should be of far more concern than any of the former, especially in the field of nanorobotics. Did anybody see the movie The Day the Earth Stood Still? The climax in that movie is basically what we have to fear should robots come to be able to self-replicate uncontrollably.

For now, I give the roboticists an awesome two-thumbs-up for their achievements. I don't think Wall-E will be eating any children anytime soon...

[edit on 17-2-2009 by RadicalIgnoramus]



posted on Feb, 17 2009 @ 01:39 AM
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I'm looking into this more.

I do think that the risk of robots going on a rampage and eating people is pretty slim. I'm just wondering about the possibility.

Apparently biomass eating robots are already beyond the "what if" stages already. This National Geographic article is dated from 2006 and talks about robots that were built to eat slugs and flies for energy.

Of course, they haven't killed any people. But then again, they haven't been programmed to carry out military missions or armed with weapons either.



posted on Feb, 18 2009 @ 02:18 AM
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Originally posted by mattifikation
I'm sure it won't be designed to hunt animals or people. I'm sure it will be built to seek out plants, since plants can't run away or escape. But what if this thing is being used in a desert? What if there's no suitable source of plant life?

If this thing is programmed to seek out biomass, use weapons, and complete its mission at all costs, what if it determines that a dead person is just as plant-like as its intended diet?


Well, being dead, the deceased/edible party won't have much of a problem with it, now will they?



posted on Feb, 18 2009 @ 03:33 AM
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I can see it now. Years from now, we send one of these robots on a deep space mission to a planet we think may be able to support life also programmed to complete its mission at all costs as the logistics and money involved make it a one shot deal

. When it reaches this planet it sets out to explore and realizes its energy is getting low and must recharge or its mission will fail.....just when the leader of the sentient life (resembling a large bug) on that planet walks towards said robot to offer its hand/antenna in peace, it gets drawn and quartered faster than a lobster on Iron Chef and turned into bio fuel thus starting a galactic war.



posted on Feb, 18 2009 @ 04:31 AM
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Originally posted by etombo
Hahahaha. Yea I see the problem.. When it starts eating children.


"A robot took my baby!!!" (In horrible Australian accent)

I don't see the problem with this idea. Now if they were nanobots, then I'd be worried. But not like that bacteria they developed to eat oil. Or something, anyway, made people think it would start eating humans.. But no more than the yeast they brew beer would...

A robot that's ripping up your garden and munching on your bestest frangipani wouldn't be able to stand a good ol' cow tipping trick, I'm sure of it.

If they make them Moo, that'd be neat.. Wonder if they'd make a domestic version..

(Im soo tired today)







 
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