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The age of the killer robot is no longer a sci-fi fantasy

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posted on Jan, 22 2010 @ 06:50 AM

In the dark, in the silence, in a blink, the age of the autonomous killer robot has arrived. It is happening.

They are deployed. And – at their current rate of acceleration – they will become the dominant method of war for rich countries in the 21st century. These facts sound, at first, preposterous. The idea of machines that are designed to whirr out into the world and make their own decisions to kill is an old sci-fi fantasy: picture a mechanical Arnold Schwarzenegger blasting a truck and muttering: "Hasta la vista, baby." But we live in a world of such whooshing technological transformation that the concept has leaped in just five years from the cinema screen to the battlefield – with barely anyone back home noticing.

The Nato forces now depend on a range of killer robots, largely designed by the British Ministry of Defence labs privatised by Tony Blair in 2001. Every time you hear about a "drone attack" against Afghanistan or Pakistan, that's an unmanned robot dropping bombs on human beings. Push a button and it flies away, kills, and comes home. Its robot-cousin on the battlefields below is called SWORDS: a human-sized robot that can see 360 degrees around it and fire its machine-guns at any target it "chooses".

At the moment, most are controlled by a soldier – often 7,500 miles away – with a control panel. But insurgents are always inventing new ways to block the signal from the control centre, which causes the robot to shut down and "die". So the military is building "autonomy" into the robots: if they lose contact, they start to make their own decisions, in line with a pre-determined code.

Good article here I think.

I love the idea of 'robots', having grown up watching Terminator and being a fan of sci-fi, but there are certain aspects that do worry me. The idea that these robots will make their own decision and fire at targets they 'choose' leads me to believe we aren't far away from being on the receiving end of some sci-fi film plot ourselves.

So, what are the positives/negatives as far as you see them? Is there really any danger of these robots running amok?

It's a fascinating subject nonetheless

Edit...I had to link to the site's homepage because the other link wasn't working, it should be easy to find I hope.

[edit on 05/08/2009 by LiveForever8]

[edit on 05/08/2009 by LiveForever8]

posted on Jan, 22 2010 @ 07:02 AM
Why not. A soldier is nothing more than a human robot. If the robot can do just as good of a job killing "terrorists" at a cheaper price, then it makes cents for these corporations to use them.

posted on Jan, 22 2010 @ 07:09 AM
reply to post by avatar01

Some troubling thoughts......

We know the programming of robots will regularly go wrong – because all technological programming regularly goes wrong. Look at the place where robots are used most frequently today: factories. Some 4 per cent of US factories have "major robotics accidents" every year. And remember: these are robots that aren't designed to kill.

Robots find it almost impossible to distinguish an apple from a tomato: how will they distinguish a combatant from a civilian? You can't appeal to a robot for mercy; you can't activate its empathy.

If virtually no American forces had died in Vietnam, would the war have stopped when it did – or would the systematic slaughter of the Vietnamese people have continued for many more years?

There is some evidence that warbots will also make us less inhibited in our killing.

posted on Jan, 22 2010 @ 07:30 AM
reply to post by LiveForever8

robots are driven by computers. Computers can be hacked. Can you imagine a platoon of killer tin men being flashed with a new OS and doing a 180 on their own troops?

Here is an idea, how about instead of killing each other when we have a disagreement, we do a quick round of rock-paper-scissors? Taking a life should not even be an option. Ahh, utopia.

posted on Jan, 22 2010 @ 07:36 AM
Oh Jesus Chri$t it's worse than I thought, LOL!

I saw in Afghanistan the taliban and other factions were actually hacking the predator and reaper drones causing them to stray off course or miss their target by how many feet is varied. Now there is no way in hell the taliban or those other primitives have the tech or know-how to carry out such operations. I smell, HMMMM Russia, China and maybe Iran with their dirty fingers in the mix. But, they did it to us in Vietnam just as we did it to Russia in their war with Afghanistan, so all's fair in love and war!

posted on Jan, 22 2010 @ 07:41 AM
Well I can't say I blame them.

You see, humans have to kill other humans who believe different things. The problem is, sometimes there are casualties and these casualties have families who make complaints so it's better to design and build robots who will kill people who have different beliefs. Robots don't have families and can't be held responsible for killing people so it's a win/win.

It's a better way to do it really.

posted on Jan, 22 2010 @ 07:53 AM
reply to post by RyanLA123

Those 'primitives' have not been defeated at home by the greatest armies in the world. USA can't. Russia couldn't, Britain couldn't... the list is littered with the biggest names in the world.

I do not believe it is ethical to allow robots to kill on auto coding. We can't code super computers, power station systems, space systems and other computers 100% bug free so who says we can correctly code something that kills people! This practice must be stopped - I have no problems with 'gather intelligence' and 'return to base' on auto... but not kill.

To disable the predators comms simply would take a decent whack of microwave energy.. no communications presto

posted on Jan, 22 2010 @ 08:02 AM

Originally posted by LiveForever8
I love the idea of 'robots', having grown up watching Terminator and being a fan of sci-fi, but there are certain aspects that do worry me. The idea that these robots will make their own decision and fire at targets they 'choose' leads me to believe we aren't far away from being on the receiving end of some sci-fi film plot ourselves.

The idea is like WALL-E not the Terminator. Terminators are useless.

Is there really any danger of these robots running amok?

Yes, hence don't arm them in the first place. Wall-es only, no terminators. For combat, the military can use remote drones or exoskeletons, they don't need advance autonomous robots, that's just dumb.

Inside the Robo-Cannon Rampage

A South African robotic cannon went out of control, killing nine, "immediately after technicians had finished repairing the weapon," the Mail & Guardian reports.

Read More

This one is not even a real robot.

[edit on Fri, 22 Jan 10 by Jazzyguy]

posted on Jan, 22 2010 @ 08:13 AM
If anyone has any doubt that our gov. is working on killer gotta see this video! This 4 legged beast can't be pushed over, recovers from slipping on ice, and can navigate deep snow and a big pile of concrete blocks.....if they put fur on it you'd think it was alive....freaky.

link to youtube vid:


posted on Jan, 22 2010 @ 08:21 AM
The video link I offer is a must view for all veterans. In fact if you see this video, it might just inform you enough to save your life. In an age of robotics becoming known in all aspects of our lives, we are seeing robotics being used by the military for purposes which many have not been aware of up to this point. I want to inform the average citizen and every veteran of what technologies are being developed to surveillance the public. I offer the following link to awaken the uninformed to what is in use today. The video will discuss Air Force technology called M.A.V.'s. It is going to show you something that needs to be shared with anyone of a like mind that needs to see just what technology is being developed to perform surveillance and or kill target subjects.

I want to make the public aware of technology currently in production and in field use by our armed forces. Afterward, it will allow you to begin thinking of how such technology is going to influence combat operations for everyone concerned. I also want everyone to reflect on what you have been presented and begin thinking in a different manner regarding what robots are becoming and how robotics can be used to create all types of surveillance robots which can be programmed to kill if equipped with weapons and other types of armament.

We are in a new technological era and the technology is surpassing our ability to even know of its existence. It is time to do a little homework and that small effort can begin by viewing the video at the link offered. Robots are becoming common place in our society. We need to know much more about what is being developed to begin to understand how it poses a threat to those that would resist the government and to anyone targeted by such technology.

Enjoy the link:

posted on Jan, 31 2010 @ 01:49 AM
As a soldier who grew up on decentralized conflicts, I can see many merits to this.

The UAV has revolutionized modern conflict in terms for force protection. We ground troopers have been waiting for an armed robot we can send into various areas before going in with live troops. An ambush is a lot less effective if you can trigger it before committing your forces. Having a platform that can identify and engage enemy personnel prior to flesh and blood entering the kill zone is the biggest force multiplier that has come around since they invented the machine gun.

I certainly haven't seen anything about autonomous targeting by drones in current technology. Speaking from the American military standpoint, we are far too hands on to allow a computer program to make decisions for us- we are, as commanders, ultimately responsible for the actions of our various weapons systems. I would welcome a remote controlled platform, whereas I would outright reject employing an autonomous weapons system for obvious reasons. Rarely is killing a man an operation of 1s and 0s- the decision inputs come from a myriad of factors makes it more difficult than black and white.

The drones mentioned in the OP article don't "fly away, kill, and come home" at the push of a button as stated. They are piloted by a real person at all times- its remote control, not robotic automation. The only time automation comes into play is when the control system is compromised and they autopilot back to friendly ground where they can either be picked back up on the control system or crash-land in an area where the system can be immediately recovered. There is no autonomous targeting system.

If we don't go into a room and pump rounds into everything standing or send a Hellfire up the tailpipe of every vehicle that drives up a certain road, why would we design a weapon that does?

posted on Jan, 31 2010 @ 02:09 AM
I find it amusing that America with the very best weapons technology in the world, and 160,000+ battle troops have been fighting a few civilian insurgents in Iraq for seven years.

And are no closer to controlling Iraq than the day they illegally invaded the place.

Yeah, bring on the robots.

A dozen or so at a million bucks each can probably be wiped out with a bottle of gasoline with a rag shoved into the end.

So work really hard America and pay your taxes so you can waste even more money on this delusional crap.

posted on Jan, 31 2010 @ 03:06 AM
You have to know that if one side is working on these type of robots you know the other sides of the triangle are also or will be soon. China and Russia Russia has been brutal in the past and China is Far worse in the concern for human life .

The implications of what the future will hold with these new warbots could range from benign to horrific .

Right now we have layers of compassion for human life. Using our system of government . The president both houses the pentagon and the general populace the military engagement is weighted against the loss of our solders and lastly the loss of civilian life on the opposing side. If our losses would be to great then the action will be skipped or a different direction would be taken. The reluctance to lose our young men and women will fade out of existence if these flourish in the military.

During a conflict there is compassion levels with in the military Generals Sargent down to the Private who can weigh the civilian cost against taking a town or strategic objective . All that could be wiped out by the General sending in autonomous robots. They would not have any trouble doing the job even if 90% of the casualties would be civilian.

This technology will remove the reluctance to send in the troops since the troops could be autonomous robots .

Its bad enough when we send our young men and women of to kill human beings These people have a humanity and compassion somewhere deep inside. But a machine sent out to kill will have no guilt , no compassion and no care just complete the objective. The up side we would lose less solders but I feel the civilian loss of life will sky rocket .

It might be safer being in the military than a civilian in the future wars .

posted on Feb, 2 2010 @ 12:09 PM
Nice thread. Very interesting, killer robots. Its odd, and a little disturbing how far machines have come, especially in the last decade or two. But i don't think that's its all bad, this will limit the amount of human casualties during times of war, and possibly lead to some new and innovative technology we can use. Eg. Robotic Cars

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