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DARPA Researches Avatar Surrogates

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the presumably-with-more-clothing dept.

The Military 159

kgeiger writes "Feeling blue? DARPA is funding a program to investigate the feasibility of battlefield cyborg-surrogates: 'In its 2012 budget, DARPA has decided to pour US $7 million into the 'Avatar Project,' whose goal is the following: "develop interfaces and algorithms to enable a soldier to effectively partner with a semi-autonomous bi-pedal machine and allow it to act as the soldier's surrogate."' Power and bandwidth constraints aside, what could go wrong? Chinese hackers swooping in and commandeering one's army?"

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pour US $7 million? (5, Insightful)

dj245 (732906) | more than 2 years ago | (#39077909)

The government doesn't pour $7 million. They dish it out with an eyedropper.

Not that $7 million isn't a lot of money for you and me, but for the US government it is a rounding error.

Re:pour US $7 million? (1)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078093)

To be fair, $7 Million is about one eye drop's worth of money to the US Government.

Re:pour US $7 million? (5, Insightful)

slartibartfastatp (613727) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078139)

The movie "Avatar" costed half a billion dollars - 7 millions seems too low a budget to make it real.

Re:pour US $7 million? (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078189)

Less than a quarter of a billion dollars, actually.

That doesn't affect your point, though.

Re:pour US $7 million? (0)

garrettg84 (1826802) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078207)

I've seen estimates from $200 million to $500 million. In either the low end or the high end of the spectrum, WTF?? Why is this disparity between research and entertainment true???? Mod Parent UP!!!!!

Re:pour US $7 million? (3, Informative)

wed128 (722152) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078549)

Why is this disparity between research and entertainment true????

Who's money is it? that's why.

Re:pour US $7 million? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39079263)

Why is this disparity between research and entertainment true????

Who's money is it? that's why.

Wow, it took talent to fuck up "whose"...

who's = who is, not possessive whose.

Re:pour US $7 million? (3, Insightful)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078895)

Why is this disparity between research and entertainment true????

How is making a movie and R&D'ing a technology Apples to Apples enough for this to be worthy of so many question marks?

Re:pour US $7 million? (2)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078733)

The movie "Avatar" costed half a billion dollars - 7 millions seems too low a budget to make it real.

it would give you some change from a Lee Majors [wikipedia.org] .

Re:pour US $7 million? (1)

lxs (131946) | more than 2 years ago | (#39079223)

That was the mid '70s.
Inflation adjusted, Lee Majors is the Slightly-Over-20-Million-Dollar-Man.

Re:pour US $7 million? (2)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078317)

It's an investigation of feasibility. Not an actual development project. 7.000.000 USD is quite a lot for something like that.

Re:pour US $7 million? (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078867)

$7 million to investigate feasibility of what?

"develop interfaces and algorithms to enable a soldier to effectively partner with a semi-autonomous bi-pedal machine and allow it to act as the soldier's surrogate."

We have that now, it's called a robot. Are robots feasible? Yes. Can I have $7,000,000 now?

Re:pour US $7 million? (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078571)

And this is why we are so broke. Frittering our money away on bullshit projects such as these. They add up. And to add insult to injury, once this become technologically feasible all previous findings and standards will be have to be scrapped and recreated yet again. Total waste.

Re:pour US $7 million? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39078707)

Yeah, like all that other BS that DARPA has funded the development of. We don't need any of that shit.

1. Internet
2. Self Navigating Autonomous cars

Re:pour US $7 million? (1)

fizzer06 (1500649) | more than 2 years ago | (#39079103)

"Self Navigating Autonomous cars" Sure, what could possibly go wrong?

Re:pour US $7 million? (2)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078863)

Bullshit project? Are you trolling, on crack, or just stupid? This is the kind of research that saves soldiers' lives, plus there will certainly be non-military applications down the road.

Re:pour US $7 million? (1)

Truekaiser (724672) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078899)

we should be working to put more people on the ground in wars, not less. otherwise more civilians will die as war becomes easier to start. look at how armed drones in the air force has made them more gung ho..

Re:pour US $7 million? (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078999)

Really? And how are you going to power these things? An IronMan Arc generator? Their range and mobility will be limited for places like Afghanistan. Communications could be jammed with noise too. And lets assume war breaks out between major nations. That will go nuclear in a hurry. EMP and all. At the very least, communication satellites would be taken out by missiles as China has proven can be done.

There. I saved America 7 million tax dollars right there. You can thank me later.

Rick Santorvm - in MMXII (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39077923)

He will set the country on the path to freedom from religious persecution and return us to our rightful place in God's plan. Eliminate the government and all those who stand in the way of worship of our rightful, true Ruler. The crimes that are performed in the name of our current governmental system, including but not limited to murder of innocent children, forcing citizens to pay for products they don't want, driving our society into unrecoverable debt that our children (if they aren't aborted) will never be able to repay, placing women in harms' way and outside of the role evolution has trained them for as mother and caregiver, stifling business under the guise and heavy hand of global warming, raising taxes on those of us who are successful, teaching our precious children ridiculous theories that men were once apes and spontaneously changed into what we are today, and attempting to diverge from the Christian principles that our forefathers observed and that this country was founded upon. We need to return to His holy way, and remove the heathens from our path, if necessary, by force. It's time to stopping giving away our children's inheritance to lazy jobless people and Godless welfare cases. It's time we took back our economy and this country.

Re:Rick Santorvm - in MMXII (2)

stungod (137601) | more than 2 years ago | (#39077985)

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha...

*GASP*

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Thanks for the best laugh of the week. You should take back your meds.

Re:Rick Santorvm - in MMXII (2)

jdgeorge (18767) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078269)

Well, it's either well-thought-out satire, or... (shudder) ... not.

Since it does a pretty thorough job of touching on all the so-called "conservative" talking points, complete with contradictory positions (hard to accomplish without a clear head and an eye on the news), I'm thinking there are no meds involved.

Re:Rick Santorvm - in MMXII (1)

Truekaiser (724672) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078977)

poes law maybe?

Re:Rick Santorvm - in MMXII (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39078107)

raising taxes on those of us who are successful

Something you'll never have to worry about from down in Mommy and Daddy's basement, eh?

Re:Rick Santorvm - in MMXII (4, Funny)

lucm (889690) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078299)

He will set the country on the path to freedom from religious persecution and return us to our rightful place in God's plan. Eliminate the government and all those who stand in the way of worship of our rightful, true Ruler. The crimes that are performed in the name of our current governmental system, including but not limited to murder of innocent children, forcing citizens to pay for products they don't want, driving our society into unrecoverable debt that our children (if they aren't aborted) will never be able to repay, placing women in harms' way and outside of the role evolution has trained them for as mother and caregiver, stifling business under the guise and heavy hand of global warming, raising taxes on those of us who are successful, teaching our precious children ridiculous theories that men were once apes and spontaneously changed into what we are today, and attempting to diverge from the Christian principles that our forefathers observed and that this country was founded upon. We need to return to His holy way, and remove the heathens from our path, if necessary, by force. It's time to stopping giving away our children's inheritance to lazy jobless people and Godless welfare cases. It's time we took back our economy and this country.

Who would have thought Noam Chomsky would one day post on Slashdot

Re:Rick Santorvm - in MMXII (3, Insightful)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078421)

I was on the fence about Obama, but watching the Republican side show and sealed the deal for me. You guys are fucking nuts.

Re:Rick Santorvm - in MMXII (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39078751)

To bad you didnt fall off and hurt yourself..

If you havent figured out Obama is not different than the previous establishment icons, then you are a flat out id10t.

Just count the previous admin policies Obama has extended and put his stamp of approval on.. Start with the Patriot Act and GITMO. He promised to end both but extended both. To include the new NDAA of 2012 which is another extension of the patriot act... Lets see, how about Iraq? All those promises and still started the draw downs according to ----wait for it---- BUSH policy..

Re:Rick Santorvm - in MMXII (4, Informative)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078787)

I'll take the flawed man that is Obama, to a religious huckster like Rick Santorum any day of the week.

Re:Rick Santorvm - in MMXII (2)

Skidborg (1585365) | more than 2 years ago | (#39079115)

In any other field but politics I could call that a false dichotomy. There is something horribly wrong with this democratic system.

Re:Rick Santorvm - in MMXII (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39078813)

I have to say, the way his message has drifted all over the place combined with the fact that the country has slid further and further into the shitter for the last several years, I figured there was no way in hell Obama would get a second term. Then the Republican Primaries started. I'm fairly certain if I pissed out the window in my office right now, everyone my piss landed on would be more electable than anyone in the primaries. And the first floor of my building is a methadone clinic.

Re:Rick Santorvm - in MMXII (5, Informative)

idontgno (624372) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078531)

Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of fundamentalism that someone won't mistake for the real thing.

-- Poe's Law [wikipedia.org]

Not Avatar (5, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#39077937)

Surrogates [wikipedia.org] . Bruce Willis does more than just destroy asteroids!

Avatar had live sentient animals being grown and controlled by humans. In Surrogates, they're robots, and surrogacy starts on the battlefield.

Good SF movie, I don't know why it's so unknown.

Re:Not Avatar (2)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 2 years ago | (#39077983)

Mod parent Informative. This is 100% accurate comparison to existing fiction, rather than grasping at blue alien sentience transference straws

Forever Peace (5, Informative)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078055)

And halfway in between is Joe Haldeman's Forever Peace [thehugoawards.org] . In the novel, soldiers use mechanical body surrogates which have the bizarre side effect of linking all senses of the team members as if it were a single organism. It's a good read. We can already see, hear and launch weapons from drone platforms and this is just the early stage of remote piloting.

Re:Not Avatar (1, Funny)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078227)

I prefer the Wargs from Westeros- not only could they take over the bodies of other animals- some of them can actually control other people.

Imagine if our soldiers could go to sleep and wake up in expendable human bodies when going to battle. We could get our soldiers to take over French soldiers and march them into military victory over Germany.

Re:Not Avatar (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39078327)

Avatar the word (not the movie) means "An incarnation, embodiment, or manifestation of a person or idea", so I think the name is perfectly well chosen. The robot body manifests the controller in a different place. It is the right word to choose regardless of scifi book or movie titles.

Re:Not Avatar (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078997)

If it were avatar the word and not Avatar the movie it wouldn't be capitalized and italicised.

Re:Not Avatar (1)

dpilot (134227) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078371)

Or try the "soldier boys" in "The Forever Peace", by Joe Haldeman. Some of the book is about the psychological disconnection of being a semi-immune actor on the battlefield, some about getting your robot "killed" out from under you while "fully immersed." I was going to add a bit more information, but it's too much of a spoiler.

Re:Not Avatar (2)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078669)

I was thinking of an eariler work, Surrogates [imdb.com] ; it had what I considered some useful solutions for current issues.

Re:Not Avatar (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#39079173)

The movie you linked on imdb is the same movie I linked at wikipedia. Surrogates, Bruce Willis. And yes, it is older than Avatar but not as well known.

Re:Not Avatar (2)

Frenzied Apathy (2473340) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078679)

One of my favorite, Sci-Fi movies.

Agreed, I'm surprised this movie isn't better known.

Re:Not Avatar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39078973)

Unknown because the movie itself was a fairly bland semi-rogue-cop-acting-outside-normal-channels-for-the-greater-good plot that just happened to be dropped into an interesting environment.

I'm sure the comic it was based on is better, but I've admittedly not read it.

Re:Not Avatar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39079171)

Good SF movie, I don't know why it's so unknown.

If it were a real movie, you'd have linked to the IMDB page rather than Wikipedia.

Jaming and lag (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39077993)

1. any kind of lag or areas with a poor signal may not work to well even more so if the link need to go over a few Satellites.

2. You don't need to hack them just jam them and they can be come useless

Re:Jaming and lag (4, Informative)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078343)

This is DARPA. They don't even raise the question of "practicality" when they do projects like this, they just ask "can it be done at all?" These are the same people who build flying tanks. Is it practical? Almost certainly no. Is it cool and possibly practical in the future? Maybe, but we won't know until we try.

Re:Jaming and lag (2)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#39079413)

Right, they start somewhere insane and then dial it down. The applications are immediate.

Will it be practical for combat in the next 20 years? Probably not. But it could be used in EOD (Explosives and Ordinance Disposal) where you would have the advantage of human dexterity in disabling a bomb without having to risk an actual person. (They already use small robots as is.) It could also be useful in firefighting situations - a tethered "avatar" robot could go far closer to a fire and fight it (or inside a building in danger of collapsing) than a human could. (I refrain from saying that it would do things a human is unwilling to do, because we have and have had brave men step into incredibly dangerous situations to save lives. It is an important and honorable sacrifice, but with technology it can no longer be a necessity.)

China not a problem (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39078011)

We have loads of people on /. screaming that China is not cracking systems and would not go aggressively after other nations (say Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Phillipines, thailand, or even India) or even USA. Surely all of these ACs on the site combined with Chinese Political and Military leaders could NOT be wrong.

Re:China not a problem (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39078801)

The fact that DARPA is budgeting $7 million on research to "develop interfaces and algorithms to enable a soldier to effectively partner with a semi-autonomous bi-pedal machine and allow it to act as the soldier's surrogate" is proof that Chinese human/surrogate interface manufacturers have already infiltrated DARPA's budgeting systems.

Here's an idea. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39078013)

You've got millions of people ages 10-whatever that can play fps games. How about a computer screen, keyboard and mouse interface. I'll happily take a portion of that 7 million now. Just forget that the bipedal robot part doesn't actually work yet.

Are you kidding me? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39078069)

What a massive waste of money. We have people starving in the world (yes even in the US) and they throw 7M at this crap?

Re:Are you kidding me? (1)

Skidborg (1585365) | more than 2 years ago | (#39079157)

7 Million is chump change.

Great... (0)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078083)

How could this possibly backfire?

Not just WAR but also SPACE (4, Interesting)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078095)

Here's a submission I sent a few days ago about humanoid television-robots making the first handshake in space (on the ISS).

wisebabo writes

"As long as we are still in debt to the Chinese and can't afford an ambitious space program, we should be developing THESE (humanoid telerobots). Just get the astronaut NEAR the Moon or Mars (or someday Titan!) and operate these without that stupid speed-of-light time delay. A huge proportion of the weight and complexity of going to these places is that last 100 miles so while times are lean this is the way to go.

Maybe James Cameron can be persuaded to do a pre-quel of Avatar, unfortunately I don't think he'll find a planet full of sexy tele-robots!"

Link to Original Source

Re:Not just WAR but also SPACE (1)

chichilalescu (1647065) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078259)

with the moon, it could probably work directly from Earth. make it smart enough to move around and avoid falling rocks etc, and have someone give it short term goals ("hammer that nail", "reorient that antenna", etc).
even from orbit there would be some delay (you need to send everything through a satellite anyway since you're on the other side of the planet half the time), so just do it from Earth.

Re:Not just WAR but also SPACE (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078663)

The issue is "telepresence" requires more of a real-time feed, IMHO, than what you'll get even earth-to-moon.

For example, "avoid falling rocks." Figure that it takes a radio signal 1.25 seconds to get from the Earth to the Moon. So you're watching a rock falling towards you. What you're seeing was 1.25 seconds ago. So you immediately jump to the right to avoid it. By the time the robot gets the signal to jump to the right, it's been another 1.25 seconds. So assuming your robot was just standing there, by the time the robot got the signal to jump, 2.5 seconds have gone by and it's likely been hit by the rock.

Stupid auto-correct (1)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078495)

I meant "telepresence" not television!

Also the sub-poster makes a good point. While an astronaut in orbit around the MOON (not earth) would be much closer, he would still have to go through a lunar relay at least half the time. In any case, compared with the cost of just running it from a nice beach resort (okay lab) on earth, the 1-1/2 second time delay seems acceptable.

It's helped out by the moons 1/6 gee. So if you drop something, you have six times longer to react!

What can go wrong... (5, Interesting)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078167)

... ironically, is that soldiers will not be risking their lives in the field of combat.

Not that I am advocating soldiers dying per se, but if a cause is not worth dying for, then why is it worth going to war for in the first place? If one is prepared to kill their fellow man for whatever cause they might believe in, however true, and however noble, and however right, but they themselves are not prepared to die in the name of that same cause, then their so-called virtuous beliefs are nothing but hollow claims.

Nothing of any real worth or value has ever been achieved without making some sacrifice... and it is the virtue of the people who *have* made such sacrifices that gives us that much more a profound appreciation for the victory that was gained by it.

Take that away, and war becomes just a pointless exercise in killing... without purpose, and maybe even without end.

This is a bad idea.

Re:What can go wrong... (1)

NonUniqueNickname (1459477) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078273)

Don't worry, it has a kill switch.

Re:What can go wrong... (1)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078275)

Nobody wins a war by dying for their country. You win a war by making the OTHER sob die for HIS country.

Re:What can go wrong... (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078501)

You miss the point. If a war isn't worth putting your ass on the line for, it's also not worth killing other people for.

Re:What can go wrong... (2)

idontgno (624372) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078619)

I suspect you're trying to make a moral point. If this is so, you're both right (or at least, I agree) and completely beside the point.

In practice, the only cost considered in waging war is the cost to "the good guys". If you can inflict 5000 casualties on the enemy (and, maybe, some of their non-combatants as well), without suffering any casualties of your own, that's zero casualties. The other side doesn't count, except as targets. If they don't want to die, they can surrender. Maybe. Or flee. Maybe.

Really advanced nation-states can win with almost no human cost (to themselves) and comparatively light financial costs. (Like destroying a multi-million <foreigncurrency> command post with a $125,000 cruise missile).

Asymmetric warfare is the best kind, as long as you're on the winning end.

Re:What can go wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39078797)

From an ex-infantryman. Why put your ass on the line at all. make the other guy pay while you relax with a beer. War is not virtuous...it is the struggle for resources. There is no honor, right, or wrong in war at all...never has been.

Re:What can go wrong... (1)

AlienIntelligence (1184493) | more than 2 years ago | (#39079335)

You miss the point. If a war isn't worth putting your ass on the line for, it's also not worth killing other people for.

You must be new to this planet.

-AI

Re:What can go wrong... (1)

Frenzied Apathy (2473340) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078765)

Nobody wins a war by dying for their country. You win a war by making the OTHER sob die for HIS country.

Classic Gen. George S. Patton, there!

Re:What can go wrong... (1)

JoeKlip (2566683) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078319)

This is such limited thinking. The Internet was developed so the military can communicate between different system rather than receiving radio or telephone call. The main point was to issue the kill command as quickly as possible. Yet the system become something opposite. It united people to the degree mankind never before experienced. This concept, when realized, will be such a life saver too. Imagine you can build tall buildings with no real people except for the avatars. How about mining. Also how about deep sea discovery. At the moment undersea robots have such limited mobility that it cost so much to control them. Having an avatar will expand our undersea science tremendously. Also talking about deep sea gas and oil drilling. We have to construct the monstrous oil platform just to support gas/oil drilling. Imaging all of these structure are underwater and only require avatar to maintain the facility and can make repair if need. In many countries, the demographic is getting older. Manual labor will become more difficult. Avatar will help here too. You can work in your old age with minimal physical exertion. I thought the technical crowd is more forward thinking than this. Yet you guys complain about 7mil which everyone agree is a drop in a bucket. How about

Re:What can go wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39078511)

Yeah...except the same drones that are currently bombing civilians in Pakistan and elsewhere are controlled over the Internet. Hey, nice try though.

Re:What can go wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39078321)

Just because a cause is worth dying for doesn't mean we shouldn't reduce the chances of dying as much as possible.

Re:What can go wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39078355)

Violence is a bad idea. Unfortunately machines will eventually be better than humans at killing other machines -and humans- than humans can physically be. And then men will become slaves, to other men, with machines. But it'd be pretty damn smart to make our machines before the other guy gets his, you know?

Re:What can go wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39078455)

Just because you are willing to die for something doesn't mean that you have to actually want to die for it. Also, an army is set up so that the grunt soldiers, who are the ones dying, don't have a real choice about whether they want to perform a mission or not. The ones who are making the decisions about what to do are not the ones dying. So your scary scenario is already reality without these things.

It doesn't make much sense anyway. I believe that killing people at random in Africa is wrong, but I'm not willing to personally go there and protect the innocent. I wouldn't do it even if I could do it at no risk to my own life - it would still consume my time and resources. Do you really mean to say that then I can't make the claim that "killing people at random is wrong"? I'm pretty sure that then very few people can make that claim. For example I'm pretty sure you are not currently in a war zone in Africa risking your life to save the innocents, even though you have the ability to do that. Yet you can still have an opinion that those innocents shouldn't be killed, and there is nothing hollow about that.

Re:What can go wrong... (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078479)

They want the ultimate armchair warrior. Right now people can be convinced to send people to die for totally bogus reasoning (Iraq war). Imagine how easy it would be to get support if no soldiers on our side were dying. Bad idea, indeed.

Re:What can go wrong... (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078719)

You have similar situations today with Drone attacks, not to mention the cruise missile strikes against "terrorist targets" in the 1990s.

Re:What can go wrong... (1)

iceaxe (18903) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078489)

Take that away, and war becomes just a pointless exercise in killing... without purpose, and maybe even without end.

This is a bad idea.

The argument could be made that this is already the case, with "expendable" soldiers acting as the avatars for politicians or other unscrupulous sorts.

Re:What can go wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39078579)

Here's an experiment - have two countries fight a war in a video game, with an agreement that the winner receives some objective by contract in real life, and the loser loses said objective - whatever it might be!

Of course, we can all easily guess that, once you take real human lives out of the mix, the "virtual" war makes no difference to resolve an issue which requires war as resolution.. but.. who knows until it's been tested? Perhaps getting out human aggression virtually is enough... although it is > 99.9999% unrealistic for that to be true, in opinion.

Re:What can go wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39078807)

Romantic thinking.

Re:What can go wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39078819)

I remember right after 9/11, George W Bush calling the the hijackers cowards. Yet, he never visited Iraq until over five years after his "Mission Accomplished" speech. No wonder he was so clueless about the situation there. Now we've got soldiers in North America remotely assassinating people in the Middle East. The disconnect is staggering. Maybe as a pacifist, I'm not qualified to say, but I think I know a coward when I see one.

Re:What can go wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39079063)

The people who start these wars are never the ones who do the dying anyway. This would change nothing. Even if you had two nations at war utilizing the same tech (unlikely), there would still be economic costs, as the units themselves would unlikely be cheap, and you're still going to have casualties when command bases for these things become new targets.

Either way, it's barely worth worry about as even if the robotics were there to make a robotic avatar on the field worth replacing an actual body to begin with, the idea would still break down in that I don't see how they would prevent signal jamming with enough certainty to make it worth doing.

Negative possibilities (1)

Shad0w99 (807661) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078169)

Why limit ourself to China, or any other country. Terrorist groups, drug cartels, anybody who is intelligent enough (or has money to hire someone who is) can try to take control. Why fly a plane into a building when you can just use "the surrogat army" to do it for you with.

Re:Negative possibilities (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078509)

Because at the end of the day a set of box cutters is cheaper than hacking a surrogate army... I don't recall our bloated military keeping 9/11 from happening.

...What could go wrong...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39078211)

"Power and bandwidth constraints aside, what could go wrong?"

Nothing that I can see. We should be able to create vast numbers of semi-autonomous fighting machines in large automated factories who will take orders from anyone with the right codes with very little requirement for human interaction at all.

And then we could call the central command system that we're going to use to direct them 'SKYNET'.....

holy fucking crap. (5, Funny)

Johann Lau (1040920) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078247)

with the kind of presidents the USA churns out, is "it could be hacked" *really* the first thing that comes to mind when you ponder what could go wrong? how about this, it might NOT get hacked, and offer even more potential to murder and maim even more people with even less inhibitions, politically as well as on the level of individual soldiers? we had nintendo pilots for a long time. now there'll be nintendo grunts. fucking great. and the princess is STILL in another castle.

but oh noes, the chinese [youtube.com] . you are so lost.

Re:holy fucking crap. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39078423)

Considering how many things in China just explode, or fall apart for no reason, and how often, perhaps the Chinese hacking them would be a good way to dispose of them? Just don't stand nearby, the shrapnel might hurt you.

Re:holy fucking crap. (1)

Johann Lau (1040920) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078731)

Considering how many things in China just explode, or fall apart for no reason, and how often

I am so fascinated by fantasizing about you fantasizing about that, I can hardly put it in words. yeah folks, let's just consider how many things in China just explode, or fall apart for no reason, and how often! I completely forgot about that. In the USA only democracy and the social system fall apart and explode, but look at those bags of rice go. and should China ever amount to anything, there's still plenty of fucked up countries that don't happen to be allies at this moment in time, don't you worry your surrogate controlling brain about that.

(heh, this story doesn't even piss me off that much, but nationalism kinda does)

Machines can be used against you (2)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078291)

It's easier to turn a machine against its original purposes by fooling it, hacking it, or other such methods. It's harder to turn entire swaths of human soldiers.

bi-pedal??? (2)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078397)

That dash in bipedal was really confusing. Made me think of a robot with two pedals. Also why have a robot with legs?? Why not treads or flight? It doesn't need to do everything a person does. It just needs to kill things.

Re:bi-pedal??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39079093)

Maybe I'm just a wannabe neo-hippie with all this "make love not war" stuff, but the dash made me think of this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjAoBKagWQA

Also, bonus points for telesex emerging as a trillion-dollar industry by 2050.

War as a video game (3, Insightful)

Whatanut (203397) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078431)

If they continue down this path they will mostly just turn war into a big video game. All the real people will be locked up in a bunker somewhere controlling their avatars and such.

So, then the question becomes this: Why not just settle disputes by actually playing video games. You lose at starcraft, you lose your country. Seems like the natural progression...

Re:War as a video game (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078767)

Voting is the natural progression from war. Most early wars are won by the side with the most soldiers. So instead of fighting the war you just pick the victor based on whose army is bigger.

A Taste of Armageddon (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39078793)

If they continue down this path they will mostly just turn war into a big video game. All the real people will be locked up in a bunker somewhere controlling their avatars and such. So, then the question becomes this: Why not just settle disputes by actually playing video games. You lose at starcraft, you lose your country. Seems like the natural progression.

As foreshadowed by a ST:TOS episode [memory-alpha.org] .

star trek tos had a episode like that that (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078861)

star trek tos had a episode like that that with computers running a VR war with real death chambers that people just went into and they did that as it's was better then useing real weapons.

Re:War as a video game (1)

recharged95 (782975) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078877)

"Why not just settle disputes by actually playing video games"

Already done, it's called Congress: kids arguing with on another, collecting credits ($$$), having re-dos (reelection), cheating, and playing mind games.

If everyone is remotely fighting, instead of building up this huge infrastructure: wouldn't it be easier to just pick up the d*mn phone and settle it?

Re:War as a video game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39078911)

All the real people will be locked up in a bunker somewhere controlling their avatars and such.

No, just the ones doing the killing. The ones not wearing uniforms are just as screwed as ever.

Re:War as a video game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39079293)

No one is going to hand over their country because they lost a video game. And no one is going to hand over their country because they ran out of robots.

After the other sides runs out of robots, they can either surrender, or we start killing people and destroying cities.

Maybe the first few days will be like a video game.. but then the real killing will start.

Wow, what a great idea! (1)

stevenfuzz (2510476) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078823)

What the frack could possibly go wrong? Let's just pray for a cute Short Circuit type meltdown, and not the other way around.

wireless technology (1)

recharged95 (782975) | more than 2 years ago | (#39078847)

Can't defy the laws of physics people--this will never work from a remote aspect (think latency).

The Gundam [wikipedia.org] approach is the way to go.

Re:wireless technology (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39079331)

Robert Heinlein - Starship Troopers - Mobile Infantry. The BOOK not the hacked movie.

DARPA (1)

nimbius (983462) | more than 2 years ago | (#39079035)

the name seems a hypocritical outcry. the ultimate advanced research project in defense is to eliminate the need for war entirely. since its inception darpa has done nothing but develop ever more sophisticated tools to perpetuate wars by different means. we dont want surrogates for our defense, we want them so that during the next incursion into the middle east, we dont have to impose a press blackout on returning c130 transports laden with bodybags.

we still want war, just as europe still wanted war at the turn of the century. we want it in lines, drumming along with fresh pressed suits of armor and a proud puritanical face forward.

I already seen this before (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39079217)

The Cylons are coming .....

hasn't DARPA seen Episode 1? (1)

jsepeta (412566) | more than 2 years ago | (#39079349)

one EMF and BAM! no communication to any of your bipedal droids.

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