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Human warriors have long spoken of the bonds forged in combat and of becoming a "band of brothers." The fact that some of those fellow soldiers are made of metal has not discouraged human feelings toward them.
Thousands of robots now fight with humans on modern battlefields that resemble scenes from science fiction movies such as "Terminator Salvation." But the real world poses a more complex situation than humans versus robots, and has added new twists to the psychology of war.
The United States military sees robots as tireless warriors capable of striking fear into enemies, and is not shy about finding inspiration from "Terminator."
"One scientist said he was trying to build the Hunter-Killer drone from 'Terminator,'" Singer told LiveScience.
Terror aside, Singer and other experts point out how battlefield robots have also proved capable of inspiring love from their human comrades, such as the EOD soldier.
"It sounds silly, but you have to remember that he's been through the most psychologically searing experience: battle," Singer said. "That machine has saved him time and time again."
Sometimes such bonds led soldiers to risk their lives for their robots, in a strange inverse of the idea that robots would spare human lives. Singer recounted another EOD soldier who ran 164 feet under machine gun fire to retrieve a robot that had been knocked out of action. And several teams have given their robots promotions, Purple Heart awards for being wounded in combat, and even a military funeral.
Singer attended one presentation on the Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot (EATR) - a long-range robot that refuels itself on "grass, broken wood, furniture, dead bodies," according to a list reeled off by one scientist.