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Emotional Attachment To Robots Could Affect Battlefield Outcome

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the finally-a-use-for-the-uncanny-valley dept.

Robotics 194

vinces99 writes "It's becoming more common to have robots sub for humans to do dirty or sometimes dangerous work. But researchers are finding that, in some cases, people have started to treat robots like pets, friends or even as an extension of themselves. That raises a question: If a soldier attaches human or animal-like characteristics to a field robot, can it affect how they use the robot? What if they 'care' too much about the robot to send it into a dangerous situation? Julie Carpenter, who just received a doctorate in education from the University of Washington, wanted to find out. She interviewed Explosive Ordnance Disposal military personnel – highly trained soldiers who use robots to disarm explosives – about how they feel about the robots they work with every day. What she found is that troops' relationships with robots continue to evolve as the technology changes. Soldiers told her that attachment to their robots didn't affect their performance, yet acknowledged they felt a range of emotions such as frustration, anger and even sadness when their field robot was destroyed. That makes Carpenter wonder whether outcomes on the battlefield could potentially be compromised by human-robot attachment, or the feeling of self-extension into the robot described by some operators."

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The solution is simple: (5, Funny)

harvestsun (2948641) | about a year ago | (#44888683)

Build robots to control the robots.

Re:The solution is simple: (4, Funny)

binarylarry (1338699) | about a year ago | (#44888705)

No, the simple solution is to intentionally make the robots evil.

That way when GJ Joe marches out there he will have no qualms about sending Flexo to his doom.

Re:The solution is simple: (1)

OneAhead (1495535) | about a year ago | (#44889755)

+1 funny. Brilliant! What could possibly go wrong?

Re:The solution is simple: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44888727)

Hence SkyNet

American Exceptionalism and Moral Superiority (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44888759)

Yes, I do! I find it quite amusing that America was schooled by Putin on exceptionalism.

For a country one who claims to boast its own national exceptionalism and moral superiority. Yet, forgets to mention they are the holders of the largest national debt known to man. If you ask me. I find this fact hardly exceptional or superior ... heck it's not even moral

Re:American Exceptionalism and Moral Superiority (2)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about a year ago | (#44888805)

John Dvorak, is that you?

Re:American Exceptionalism and Moral Superiority (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44889003)

John Dvorak, is that you?

Toss a salad, lick a ass crack, munch on a nigger cock.

Re:The solution is simple: (5, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about a year ago | (#44888831)

Don't you kids read Asimov, anymore? The message is simple:
Robots are for fucking, not for fighting!

Re:The solution is simple: (5, Funny)

hedwards (940851) | about a year ago | (#44889069)

I take it you haven't heard of electro-gonorrhea the noisy killer.

Re:The solution is simple: (1)

s.petry (762400) | about a year ago | (#44889179)

Hahaha!

Re:The solution is simple: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44889717)

It's okay if you wear McAffee branded condoms. Incidentally it comes with two tusks that you can wear around your balls.

Re:The solution is simple: (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44888991)

I suppose we could just use humans instead. We don't get emotional attachments to those, do we?

Re:The solution is simple: (5, Funny)

MrKaos (858439) | about a year ago | (#44889451)

I suppose we could just use humans instead. We don't get emotional attachments to those, do we?

Well the robot's won't get an emotional attachment when they send a human in to get blown up, they'll just send another one.

Re:The solution is simple: (1)

zoomshorts (137587) | about a year ago | (#44888995)

Stupid is as stupid does.

Re:The solution is simple: (5, Insightful)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about a year ago | (#44889229)

Before we had robots to do EOD, men had to do it.

No matter how attached someone might be to his robot, he's going to be more attached to his men.

Until you find an EOD guy who says "Wish we'd never invented these robots, things were much better when *I* was the one being blown into next week rather than my little metal buddy here..." you don't have to worry about human attitudes to robots affecting their judgement in war.

Re:The solution is simple: (2)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year ago | (#44889351)

No matter how attached someone might be to his robot, he's going to be more attached to his own life.

FTFY.

I'm sure there are people who would rather spare the existance of their robot than the life of a co-worker.

Re:The solution is simple: (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about a year ago | (#44889575)

I'm sure there are people who would rather spare the existance of their robot than the life of a co-worker.

Yeah, we call them "sociopaths" or "psychopaths". And try not to let them into the military...

Re:The solution is simple: (2)

gd2shoe (747932) | about a year ago | (#44889639)

Sometimes we don't try hard enough. We are after people willing to risk their lives to kill others, so we can't be altogether too picky. (and yes, we need them.)

Fear (2)

gd2shoe (747932) | about a year ago | (#44889625)

No matter how attached someone might be to his robot, he's going to be more attached to his men.

Bingo.

If soldiers don't use robots in dangerous situations for fear of damaging them, it won't be because of emotional attachment issues. It will be due to fear of being raked over the coals for losing the expensive toy, or fear of not being issued a replacement.

Wear gloves when maintaining these things (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about a year ago | (#44888715)

At least you know they're getting lubricated regularly.

Re:Wear gloves when maintaining these things (2)

Zynder (2773551) | about a year ago | (#44889807)

I don't even know what that means! Was that supposed to be a joke?

No. (4, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#44888723)

Just... no.

I get that they might be sad when a robot they were using somehow gets lost or destroyed, but I really can't see that influencing how likely they are to use that robot for dangerous situations unless the soldier had somehow personally invested time and energy into making the robot do or act the way that it does, and in particular such that it would require some substantial personal investment (monetary, timewise, workwise, or simply having to wait a while) to replace it.

Re:No. (4, Funny)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about a year ago | (#44888745)

"You will give your robot a girl's name."

Re:No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44889005)

Give them boss' ex- or mother in law's name and let robots wear red shirts/skirts.

lolz (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about a year ago | (#44889217)

hilarious...you just said in one sentence what it took me a paragraph to say above...

it is just like a gun or any personal tool (...) that soldiers use...the 'robot' aspect is irrelevant

Re:No. (2)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#44889325)

Name it Enola Gay. Most pilots name their planes, and many (most?) pick women's names. When the shots are fired, they care about the plane only so much as it keeps them from dying. They may mourn after they land, but they don't refuse to go on missions because their plane might get scratched.

Re:No. (1)

Deadstick (535032) | about a year ago | (#44889511)

Most pilots name their planes, and many (most?) pick women's names.

Have you ventured onto an airport since 1945?

Re:No. (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about a year ago | (#44888747)

Have you seen the paperwork required to requisition a new robot :)

Re:No. (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#44888853)

If replacing it with an equally functional one is sufficiently improbable or inconvenient then once any kind of emotional attachment has developed, then that will probably have an impact on their willingness to jeopardize it when they may perceive an alternative solution.

The solution to this problem, of course, is to remove absolutely all capacity for emotion from the soldiers, effectively turning them into cybermen.

Of course, that solution probably comes with a host of other problems... even if it were possible to do.

Re:No. (2)

s.petry (762400) | about a year ago | (#44889273)

No kidding, it would be difficult for a level 37 bureaucrat to complete.

Mod parent up. (4, Interesting)

khasim (1285) | about a year ago | (#44888891)

... and in particular such that it would require some substantial personal investment (monetary, timewise, workwise, or simply having to wait a while) to replace it.

Will I be held accountable if it is damaged or destroyed? Y/N

Will I have to wait for a replacement? Y/N

Y-Y - I'm keeping this thing in the original packaging.
Y-N - I'm still keeping this thing in the original packaging.
N-Y - I'm keeping this thing until I absolutely need it.
N-N - ROBOWARS! Grab a beer and bet on which one will win. I've already requisitioned the replacement parts.

Re:Mod parent up. (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#44888923)

Excellent point... I had not considered the impact of being held personally accountable, but I can easily see that playing a very large factor in their willingness to use it.

Re:Mod parent up. (1)

pslytely psycho (1699190) | about a year ago | (#44889197)

Personally, on a battlefield, the decision would be easy.
I am rather addicted to breathing......

Re:Mod parent up. (3, Insightful)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about a year ago | (#44889205)

Their "willingness to use it"? You realize these are EOD guys they are talking about, right? If there's a bomb on the road, and you're responsible for disarming it, and you can either put on the big suit and walk out there to do it or fire up your robot and bust out the joystick, which choice are you going to make? The EOD guys don't think that they would rather lose a limb than have to put in an order for another robot. They use the robot unless they have no other choice, they don't want to be standing over that bomb if it goes off. Even if they gave their robot a name and painted eyes and a mouth on it and sleep next to it and act like they're feeding it, when it's time for them to do their job the choice is obvious.

My brother in law is an EOD guy. He's not going to have the Marines call his wife and son to let them know that he's not going to be coming home, or that he's missing a couple arms and legs, because he didn't want to deploy his robot. This entire discussion is stupid.

Re:Mod parent up. (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#44889293)

Obviously you're going to rather risk the robot than your own life.... but if you are expecting that you're going to be held personally responsible for destroying a multi-million dollar machine at the end of it, that's still going to give you more than just a little pause. If your CO is a dick and is the sort of person who may be likely to personally blame you for blowing it up when all you did was use the robot as it was intended, some kind assurance that isn't going to actually happen to you may be necessary before you will be able to your job remotely effectively.

Re:Mod parent up. (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about a year ago | (#44889415)

The CO knows that the $60,000 TALON is only a tool, like a radio or gun. If a TALON approaches a bomb to defuse, and the bomb goes off, no one is going to give the tech any shit. After all, the bomb isn't there any more and it didn't kill anyone. The tech just needs a new robot, which hopefully arrives before the next call comes in.

Re:Mod parent up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44889713)

This entire discussion is stupid.

Of course it's stupid. It's based on "research" by a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology that was discussed in an article published by the same university as the researcher (self-promote much University of Washington?) and posted to slashdot. It's a veritable fest of over-educated nitwits.

Re:Mod parent up. (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about a year ago | (#44889065)

Will I be held accountable if it is damaged or destroyed? Y/N

There is a big difference if it is destroyed while being used as intended, or if you got it destroyed doing something stupid and unauthorized.

If your robot gets destroyed in a situation that would have previously killed you or your squadmate, nobody is going to ding you for it. And regardless of how expensive or time consuming they are to replace, they're cheaper and easier to replace than a soldier.

Re:Mod parent up. (1)

Xenx (2211586) | about a year ago | (#44889195)

But the production time and costs for soldiers (at least the first 18 years) don't come out of the military budget.

Re:Mod parent up. (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about a year ago | (#44889281)

Recruitment, training, and death benefits do come out of the budget.

Re:Mod parent up. (1)

gd2shoe (747932) | about a year ago | (#44889677)

Please reread "at least the first 18 years". (You're right, but you're also wrong.)

Re:Mod parent up. (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year ago | (#44889411)

Exactly.

If you didn't eject, there was a remote chance you could have saved that F35 before it hit the ground and exploded! Off to the brig for you!

Re:No. (2)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year ago | (#44889007)

I was going to say the same thing. They'll be attached to their robots like they are to their weapons and other gear. They're devices, not animals.

Re:No. (1)

fast turtle (1118037) | about a year ago | (#44889045)

R2D2 is a damn good example of the problem. C3P0 is another example. In this case, we'd be damn glad if it would shut the hell up.

Re:No. (1)

hedwards (940851) | about a year ago | (#44889083)

You'd be surprised. I hate letting my units get destroyed when I'm playing an RTS, it's hardly a shocker that people using real robots on the battlefield might get a bit attached to them after controlling a small number of them as they maneuver to their target.

Re:No. (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about a year ago | (#44889223)

Exactly how many robots does the EOD tech need in order to sneak up on the bomb and disarm it?

Re:No. (2)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#44889335)

Sneak? You fucking Zerg that bomb!

Re:No. (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about a year ago | (#44889453)

That would actually be fairly effective, if you're dealing with a mine or something like that. Get a little cheap robot, put a brick on it, and go send it out to jump on the mine. You lose a couple hundred bucks at most (plus a brick), and the mine is gone. Different story when you're dealing with a remotely-triggered bomb though where some dick is watching it through binoculars waiting to hit dial on their phone. You could have some small guys with a wire cutter and camera each, but then you have to deal with them getting stuck in sand plus the cost of miniaturization. It's easier to go with a larger robot that can carry more tools and better cameras and batteries. The bomber probably isn't going to hit the button if the only thing he takes out is a robot, unless he doesn't think he'll be able to detonate at all. In that case, might as well just take out the robot and then Zerg the road with more bombs while the EOD squad is minus one robot.

Re:No. (4, Insightful)

globaljustin (574257) | about a year ago | (#44889199)

yep just 'no' is kind...

i'd call the research total bullshit...

unless the soldier had somehow personally invested time and energy into making the robot do or act the way that it does

right...this is *at the most*

it's the same as a favorite gun or hat or w/e...I know in high school if you'd have asked me if I had an emotional attachment to my lucky black socks, I'd have said yes, and probably answered a damn Likert Scale questionaire in a way similar to this...

fuck I hate what passes for PhD work these days...

this study **might** have been worthwhile if she'd done some actual science by comparing her results with the bomb bot to things like favorite *boots* and *rifle* and then to drone pilots and their craft...that'd be the start of a PhD worthy researxch project

bah!

Re:No. (1)

NicBenjamin (2124018) | about a year ago | (#44889817)

Agreed.

Tankers get attached to their tanks. AF Pilots know which plane in the squadron they like best. Infantrymen get attached to their weapons. Officially none of these tools is allowed to be named, but a) that doesn't stop people from thinking of Serial #XNF370952 as "the one that saved my ass," b) Navy ships are actually named, and c) back when they were allowed to name vehicles things the Army Air Corps functioned fine.

They shed a tear when it gets blown up, then they patiently wait for a new one.

Re:No. (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#44889609)

"Just... no. "

Exactly.

I'm sad when a power tool breaks down, but that doesn't prompt me to want to bury it and hold a service. And I don't hesitate in the slightest to go get a new one.

Not really surprised by this (3, Interesting)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about a year ago | (#44888737)

I've had the same kind of feelings for computers I've owned; some you like (or dislike) more than others, even the ones you've built yourself. Even cars have their own personalities, even if they're ostensibly identical.

Re:Not really surprised by this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44889107)

I remember caressing with my hand the rounded lower left corner of a 21 inch screen of a HP workstation almost unknowingly in a computer class, serving as a storage room of old but still functional computer equipment long time ago. It was love I tell you.

Re:Not really surprised by this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44889181)

I started a job where they offered to buy me a laptop. They were big on Lenovo, so I looked through and found what I thought would be a pretty good machine (I believe it was an IdeaPad Y560). That thing was such a CPOS, I had to send it in for mobo replacement three times, when it would just stop being able to do things like boot up. There was a change in the budget I was paid under, and they announced that they would have to confiscate my laptop and my new budget could buy me another one. I said good riddance and gave them that crummy laptop. It's the only computer that I've ever been happy to be rid of.

I've upgraded a lot of parts in desktops; if I just replace the mobo in a desktop, I don't feel too sad, I think because the case is still there. If I replace the case, then I start to feel like I've abandoned my old computer friend. I try not to act on emotional attachments to these things, because I know that they're irrational and, often, just silly. I felt sad when I sold my old Trinitron TV. I'd had it for quite a few years, and then I bought a big LCD flat panel TV. So I didn't need it, but we'd been through a lot together, you know?

Re:Not really surprised by this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44889337)

That;s because anyone who builds computers knows they are alive and they always demand your blood in sacrifice.

hmmm... (2)

flipmack (886723) | about a year ago | (#44888765)

I had an emotional attachment to my Cherry 2000 at one point too...

Needs perspective.. (4, Interesting)

twotacocombo (1529393) | about a year ago | (#44888767)

Do combat personnel feel emotions regarding the loss of other pieces of equipment, such as rifles or transport vehicles? If a pilot has to ditch a multi-million dollar aircraft, does he not feel anger/sadness/guilt? Have these feelings been shown to be an emotional attachment, or feelings of personal failure, etc?

what is it they're worried about? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44888783)

What is it they're worried about? That the robot gets destroyed, or getting chewed out by their superior officer for letting a multi million dollar piece of equipment get destroyed?

Re:what is it they're worried about? (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about a year ago | (#44889235)

The TALON [wikipedia.org] costs $60,000, not several million. EOD techs aren't out there fielding ED-209 units. All they need is a camera and some tools.

It's not just robots (2)

Xyrus (755017) | about a year ago | (#44888797)

People get attached to all sorts things, not just robots, and this has happened for centuries. Captains get attached to their ships, soldiers get attached to their weapons, people get attached to their cars, or houses, or places, so on and so forth.

It seems to be built into our nature to do so. That people would/could development an attachment to a robot is no surprise.

"Asps. Very Dangerous. Send in the robot." (2)

Gavin Scott (15916) | about a year ago | (#44888799)

Given the option of taking point on some really hazardous operation yourself and letting a machine do it? I think it's stretching it to think that soldiers are going to start treating the machines as equals.

Besides, you can backup the robot's state onto a USB key, air-drop in a new one and restore its "personality" (such as it is) and your "friend" is back from the dead.

Very little requirement for sympathetic emotional attachment.

G.

Like why we can't have gays in the military (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44888803)

"I can't shoot him, he's gorgeous!

Oh, the Gundam Conundrum (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | about a year ago | (#44888813)

The Japanese have been exploring that concept for years.

The Fourth Law of Robotics (3, Funny)

He Who Has No Name (768306) | about a year ago | (#44888817)

Is to be as cute and memorable as possible to increase your own chances of continued existence.

(Sometimes referred to as the "WALL*E Rule")

perception (3, Insightful)

themushroom (197365) | about a year ago | (#44888823)

Soldiers told her that attachment to their robots didn't affect their performance, yet acknowledged they felt a range of emotions such as frustration, anger and even sadness when their field robot was destroyed.

There are two ways this can be taken:
a) Like a soldier that loses a comrade on the battlefield
b) Like a mechanic whose only 10mm crescent wrench snapped

The former may be the implication, but the latter is a fact -- the robot is a tool and without that field robot the operator isn't doing his job / lacks the thing he's operating.

Anthropomorphism (3)

Zocalo (252965) | about a year ago | (#44888835)

This is probably rooted in anthropomorphism; mankind has been attaching personal human-style connections to inanimate objects since before recorded history; animals, ships, deities, whether imaginary sky gods or natural objects such as sacred lakes, rocks and trees, the list goes on. I wouldn't be at all surprised if there was a strong correlation between the depth of feelings felt for the machine and the degree to which the operator had established a human-style connection to the it. Once operators start assigning pet names, applying custom paint jobs and taking photos of themselves with their robots, then it's only to be expected that there is going to be a stronger reaction when it gets damaged or destroyed.

Rather robots than dogs (2)

umafuckit (2980809) | about a year ago | (#44888839)

In WWII many US citizens donated their dogs to the war effort. Some of them wore suicide vests (http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/480/animal-sacrifice). In comparison to that, the robot thing is surely not a big deal.

I got the solution! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44888857)

First have the soldiers fuck the robots.

have the robots tell the soldiers they're pregnant and they want money.

Rinse and repeat

Is it really a bad thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44888871)

As the type (and cost) of battlefield deployed robots skyrockets, don't we want some attachment, at least in terms of fear of loss? These days there are few, and highly controlled, robots in the battlefield. However imagine the day where every soldier is a highly trained Call of Duty soldier controlling a remote robot. I'm sure many, given the lack of repercussions, have dived headlong into a losing FPS firefight because the cost of doing so was low. With battlefield robots controlled by individuals with no threat to their well-being, couldn't they get potentially get reckless? Maybe some attachment is good: your robot does things you wouldn't do, but prevents you from just pulling a Leroy Jenkins...

How is this not a good thing? (1)

ThatAblaze (1723456) | about a year ago | (#44888875)

Becoming attached to the item will only make people slightly less likely to risk it needlessly. I don't see any way that that behavior could be considered bad.

If I get attacked by a battle robot and destroy it, I would rather that someone, somewhere cared at least a little bit. The idea that no one cared about it at all would just make the whole thing worse.

Two Words (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44888879)

Companion Cube

Natural process.... (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | about a year ago | (#44888897)

... if people can get riled up about fantasy characters in mass effect 3's bad ending, then having them be emotionally invested in tools that do stuff veering on what humans can is not that far fetched.

Make them ugly! (2)

StefanJ (88986) | about a year ago | (#44888905)

Make the battlefield robots look like gnarly insects, with stink generators that make being around them unpleasant. If they can "talk," make them sound like tedious doofuses.

Of course, the enemy could counter by making their robots able to shape-shift -- as soon as they are out of site of their own side -- into beautiful, elegant shapes that no one would want to kill.

Uh . . . .

Cripes, I just wrote the background for an anime series, didn't I?

Mythbusters (1)

MavEtJu (241979) | about a year ago | (#44888925)

Soldiers told her that attachment to their robots didn't affect their performance, yet acknowledged they felt a range of emotions such as frustration, anger and even sadness when their field robot was destroyed.

Anybody who has seen an episode of Mythbusters knows their positive relationship with Buster and the other dummies they have or craft.

Re:Mythbusters (1)

pslytely psycho (1699190) | about a year ago | (#44889397)

Exactly.

And once they become commonplace they would have handlers ( with warehouses full of identical battlebots ) and repair/maintenence departments separate from the operators.

Handlers would prepare them for deployment and deployment could be automated. Coupled with drone and satellite coverage, there would only need to be a need the infantry to back up the robots and do what they can't.

If your front line force is backing up your robotic force and not operating them, it gives you more active weapons to confront the opposition with when the shit hits the fan and all your battle plans fall apart. ( as they all pretty much do...war is really the art of on your feet thinking once the bullets start flying! )

Guided by competent on site CO's and NCO's remote operators would probably be controlling them from behind the firefight, possibly on another continent. while many robots are airdropped, remotely driven in, etc. Along with reinforcements or perhaps semi autonomous so one operator controls multiple bots. The operators don't actually need to be anywhere near the battlefield. Damn, infantry 1 just got destroyed. Transferring to infantry 2...

Two words: (1)

KrazyDave (2559307) | about a year ago | (#44888951)

Cherry 2000

Soldiers' Interviews (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44888959)

Just like a phd to interview some soldiers and then go off and tell other people about soldiers.

Duh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44888977)

yet acknowledged they felt a range of emotions such as frustration, anger and even sadness when their field robot was destroyed.

  yet acknowledged they felt a range of emotions such as frustration, anger and even sadness when their ship sank

  yet acknowledged they felt a range of emotions such as frustration, anger and even sadness when their house burnt to the ground

  yet acknowledged they felt a range of emotions such as frustration, anger and even sadness when their car was totaled.

  yet acknowledged they felt a range of emotions such as frustration, anger and even sadness when their ipod fell in the toilet and was destroyed.

Yes people get mad or sad when their stuff is destroyed... Duh!

This is significant news. (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | about a year ago | (#44888997)

News flash! Kid cries when his teddy bear is lost. Severance of emotional attachment is traumatic. News at 11.

Stupid research (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44888999)

Stupid research by a shallow person at a morally bankrupt university, can we agree with this?

WTF is with this nascent shallow philosophers pontificating about people killers' performance when their pet robot gets hurt? Other peoples' lives are more valuable than a gazillion of those "helper" robots. This is so hard to understand for this bonehead woman.

Isn't bonding a positive thing for a Drone pilot? (1)

briancox2 (2417470) | about a year ago | (#44889009)

If I compare the disposable attitude I have toward a video game life, I would think that it's far more important for a Drone pilot to value the tool he is using. We wouldn't want him throwing away a half million dollar tool right at the beginning of the game because he was more concerned with slurping his Mountain Dew.

Robot? I'd have an AbuseBot. (1)

h4ck7h3p14n37 (926070) | about a year ago | (#44889013)

Based on my past history of swearing at and smacking tech gear (it works!), I'm pretty sure any robot I worked with or acquired would suffer nothing but abuse from me.

And what's with people trying to make robots cute? I want mine to look mean as hell, remember Maximilian from the Black Hole? That guy was freakin' awesome!

Granted, I've been attached to some of my cars and felt really shitty when I crashed one, but it's just a car. It can be fixed and there are others out there.

why7 not? (1)

DecimalThree (524862) | about a year ago | (#44889023)

When people all around you are dying, why not care about the robots? It's all you have.

Bolo Combat Units (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44889163)

Bolo Combat Units, Mark XX and later, equipped with psychotronic circuitry and thus self-aware, will often be anthropomorphised by their crew (or commanders where no crew was assigned). Its not just that they will be honorable, law abiding, curious, and potentially interested in researching their human creators' other creations, like song and story...

They were so damned expensive of COURSE you had to cry when they were damaged or destroyed. Do you have any _idea_ how much a Continental Siege Unit costs?

Read Keith Laumer's Bolo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44889165)

One of my favorite science fiction authors wrote a series of short stories that dealt with Battlefield Robots. I suggest reading the "Bolo" series by Keith Laumer to see that this problem was long anticipated, but now, with advances in robotics, is fast becoming reality.

Vice Versa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44889241)

I dare say I hope robots become emotionally attached to us one day, so that they don't decide they don't need us around.

Go Rags, Go (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about a year ago | (#44889283)

Go gittem.
-- Woof Woof.

Placebo fix to the rescue! (2)

gman003 (1693318) | about a year ago | (#44889295)

Well, we could sit around investigating just how much an effect it has, or find ways to eliminate the emotional bond between soldiers and robots. Which yes, can actually be quite significant - there's a famous story of soldiers bringing a robot fishing with them while on leave.

Or we can do the smart thing and use some tricks of psychology. I propose a system whereby the robot's "personality" (aka log files and any customized settings) be stored on a removable, hardened flash drive. Make it look like the dog tags soldiers currently wear, if possible. Then create a program under which the "personality" of damaged or destroyed robots can be transferred into new ones. Give this program a nifty acronym - I'm leaning towards MARIO (Military Android and Robot something something), for the obvious "1-Up Mushroom" reference).

There you go. The robots can still "die" if the drive is destroyed, but otherwise I think it might cause soldiers to see that the program is just a placebo. Other than that, they'll "survive". I can see some soldiers doing foolhardy things after the fact to recover the drive, but that's *after* whatever the robot needed to do is done.

And even better, it's cheap. Even after adding in the costs of development, procurement, certification, a few bribes and some generous donations to senators (technically not a bribe!), it should still cost less than a new toilet seat on a B2 bomber.

Ban men from the field (5, Funny)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#44889299)

The US doesn't have women serve because the politicians don't want to have dead women posted on the news. The military doesn't want them because they fear that the men in the field will be too emotional in the presence of women. Now we hear men are too emotional in the presence of robots. So the issue is that men are too emotional. They can't work with women or robots, and come back with PTSD and all sorts of problems. So ban men from the field, and the problem goes away.

Re:Ban men from the field (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about a year ago | (#44889521)

Um, dude, that changed a long time ago.

Probably because most NATO forces already had women in combat decades before the US did.

PTSD does not discriminate against either gender, but has a correlation with explosions and pituitary expression.

Humans Doing Something Right for Once (1)

bistromath007 (1253428) | about a year ago | (#44889319)

Someday, robosympathy will make sense. I'd prefer that we liked them a little better than a wrench by then. Most of the robot horror stories that have been written happen because we're unfeeling and brutal.

Here's a test (1)

pongo000 (97357) | about a year ago | (#44889361)

Watch this video [youtube.com] of DARPA's Big Dog. Pay attention around the 0:33 mark where the guy walks over and kicks the hell out of the robot, which makes a nice recovery.

Raise your hand if, for an instant, you thought to yourself "Damn, that was fucked up, kicking it like that."

(Raises hand)

A robot pool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44889367)

simply place said robot in a pool of parts that must be checked out in pieces each deployment or other practicable time separator so there is no one unit to be attached to, simply a bag o'parts. ie.a central unit and add boom arm or camera arm or mine sweeper attachment perhaps replaceable tracks which are serviced and assembled like tires and rims etc, they would be more diverse and allow the service member to have a better battlefield understanding of how to repair the machine once he is deployed.

Trust the Computer, Citizen (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about a year ago | (#44889495)

Do you have a Z Z Alpha requisition form for pre-conceptual authorization to think about putting a robot at risk?

Is it filled out in triplicate?

If so, you may now think about doing this.

(caveat: the article clearly states soldiers have no problems sending robots to die, but they like to have a funeral or memorial service for them if they die - not the same thing)

Of course there is an emotional response (1)

who_stole_my_kidneys (1956012) | about a year ago | (#44889563)

to a bomb disposal robot. Its the sudden "Oh Shit , we don't have any more robots" response when you still have bombs to dispose of.

Solution (1)

submain (856941) | about a year ago | (#44889643)

Make the robot be a real douche to the soldiers so that they don't mind it blowing up.

They must have tested this... (2)

Deadstick (535032) | about a year ago | (#44889681)

...on Sheldon Cooper.

Study Mac users (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44889749)

Mac users have long seen their macbooks as an extension of themselves. (sent from my MBP).

Seriously.. (1)

houbou (1097327) | about a year ago | (#44889783)

A dog is a pet, it has emotions among other characteristics that it shares with humans and as such a dog's loyalty is akin to love of its owner and vice-versa. But a robot? It is just a thing. Now, I don't think it's an 'emotional' bond between robot and human, but just a proprietary reaction of valuing the robot as a possession. It's like people and their cell phones, which they will even sleep with. It's not the love of the cell phone, it's just the dependency of having it for use whenever they see fit.

This applies to Robots? Not people? (1)

rbrander (73222) | about a year ago | (#44889845)

"Soldiers" includes officers and non-coms - right down to teenage corporals - who send their human friends and colleagues out of cover to maybe get killed. The ability to do so is a primary burden of soldiering, harder, most say, than going over the top yourself.

It's terrific if they have such humanity that they hate doing it to dogs and even robots - but they either have to be able to do it, or belong at home.

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