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Weaponized Robots Could Take Point In Future Military Ops

samzenpus posted about 6 months ago | from the why-did-you-program-me-to-feel-pain? dept.

The Military 182

Lucas123 writes "This past week at Ft. Benning, weaponized robot prototypes from four robotics companies — Northrop Grumman, HDT Robotics, iRobot Corp. and QinetiQ — demonstrated their abilities to traverse rugged terrain, fire machine guns and take out pop-up targets from a distance of 150 meters. 'They're not just tools, but members of the squad. That's the goal,' said Lt. Col. Willie Smith, chief of Unmanned Ground Vehicles at Fort Benning. For example, the Northrup Grumman's CaMEL (Carry-all Mechanized Equipment Landrover) can run for 24 hours on three-and-a-half gallons of fuel, and can be equipped with a grenade launcher, an automatic weapon and anti-tank missiles. The CaMEL also can identify targets from three-and-a-half kilometers away, using a daylight telescope or thermal imaging. The robots have also demonstrated their ability to be air dropped behind enemy lines or into remote terrain."

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182 comments

Take point? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45113637)

What does this even mean?

Re:Take point? (4, Funny)

MightyYar (622222) | about 6 months ago | (#45113651)

I usually find LMGTFY a bit obnoxious, but in this case it is the top hit for "take point" [lmgtfy.com]. Goodness.

Re:Take point? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45113689)

I usually find LMGTFY a bit obnoxious, but in this case it is the top hit for "take point" [lmgtfy.com]. Goodness.

Sometimes, obnoxious is appropriate.

Like when someone disproves the axiom that there are no dumb questions by demanding the world hold his useless damn dick because he's too lazy and stupid to figure something out on his own.

Re:Take point? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45113665)

What does this even mean?

Really?

Re:Take point? (4, Funny)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about 6 months ago | (#45113711)

What does this even mean?

Obviously, it's a reference to use of robots in sexual encounters (but not in the Japanese way). From the Urban Dictionary [urbandictionary.com] definition of point man:

"When going out with a group of male friends with the intent of picking up women together, the point man is the friend that will always jump on the hand grenade, while the wing man's responsibility is to distract the cock blocker friend."

So the robot is to be the point man, while someone else (presumably you) pick up the girl. You might need a second robot as the wing man, of course.

Re:Take point? (2)

Deadstick (535032) | about 6 months ago | (#45113803)

It means most people today not only aren't veterans but don't even know one.

Re:Take point? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45114823)

It means most people today not only aren't veterans but don't even know one.

In the current time of the all-volunteer armed forces, most veterans are people
from the lower strata of society ( or idiots from a higher strata ) so there's not
much point in "knowing" a veteran.

I walked point outside of Da Nang, after I was drafted into the army.
So I know what walking point is. But I also know what a loser who joins
the army because it's the only job he or she can get is, and in most cases
these people are ignorant uneducated dopes who aren't worth knowing.

By the way, fuck your "patriotism" in advance. A real patriot knows the US
needs to quit messing around in other countries when those countries have
not attacked the US. It is a waste of resources and there are far more efficient
means by which to secure access to the resources which are the reason the US
is messing around in those countries to begin with ( as you know if you are not an
idiot ). All this crap about "Al Quaeda" is just a lame bullshit LIE and excuse to get
morons to go along with the game plan hatched by the .2% ( for example, the
Project for a New American Century ).

Can we replace all our politicians with robots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45113659)

I mean it seems to me this is the surest way to prevent weaponized robots killing people in the next peace exercise sanctioned by our noble human leaders.

Re:Can we replace all our politicians with robots (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45113701)

I mean it seems to me this is the surest way to prevent weaponized robots killing people in the next peace exercise sanctioned by our noble human leaders.

We haven't?

We have robot politicians who merely do what their base demands, all because they want to continue the stream of bribes^H^H^H^H^H^Hcampaign contributions.

Thus we wind up with BOTH SIDES too hardheaded to stop the government from falling apart.

Re:Can we replace all our politicians with robots (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 6 months ago | (#45115081)

Oh, no. Our noble congressmen and senators are standing for principle. of course, that's only because the interest on it is small, because interest rates are low.

What could go wrong? (4, Funny)

cascadingstylesheet (140919) | about 6 months ago | (#45113661)

I for one ... oh forget it.

Re:What could go wrong? (2)

Wycliffe (116160) | about 6 months ago | (#45113759)

I keep asking myself how they will prevent them from shooting the wrong person
and then I'm reminded of the movie "Screamers" and realize that this problem has
already been solved with "tags". And we think leftover mines are bad. Wait till
the next major war and 10,000 war robots get dropped over enemy lines that shoot
anything that moves.

Re:What could go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45113917)

But they're on the other side of the line, so nothing can go wrong.

Re:What could go wrong? (2)

cold fjord (826450) | about 6 months ago | (#45114017)

But they're on the other side of the line, so nothing can go wrong.

Until somebody invents the tunneling robot catapult that sneaks up on them from underneath and then shoots them back to where they came from. "Hmm? I thought we sent X3003 over alreadyyyeeyeye Duck!"

Re:What could go wrong? (1)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | about 6 months ago | (#45114197)

Or you know, they run out of fuel after a day and shutdown.

We've been firing hundreds of autonomous robots to kill things for a long time now - they're called missiles. Sometimes we also drop them, then we call them smart bombs.

Re:What could go wrong? (3, Interesting)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 6 months ago | (#45114565)

I keep asking myself how they will prevent them from shooting the wrong person

Wrong question. The right question is whether they would be more or less likely to shoot the wrong person than a human soldier would. Many atrocities, such as My Lai [wikipedia.org] and No Gun Ri [wikipedia.org] were committed by soldiers angry over the deaths or maiming of comrades and fearful for their own safety. Since robots don't have emotions, they would not have committed those massacres.

Re:What could go wrong? (4, Insightful)

paiute (550198) | about 6 months ago | (#45115103)

Since robots don't have emotions, they would not have committed those massacres.

You mean since they don't have emotions, they won't object to committing massacres.

Re:What could go wrong? (1)

cristiroma (606375) | about 6 months ago | (#45114619)

If you would have watched the attached videoclip, it says that the soldier takes the ultimate decision when to fire.

Re:What could go wrong? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45115393)

Unless those robots scream "For the Emperor!" while taking the point, there is nothing to worry about.

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45113693)

When can we expect the release of the model 101 series 800 to be released? Somewhere in the next decade perhaps?

Terminators... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45113703)

And so it begins...has Skynet finally arrived? :)

Re:Terminators... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45113877)

And so it begins...has Skynet finally arrived? :)

You surely cannot believe that the last 2 presidents have been human beings?

How will we defend ourselves? (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 6 months ago | (#45113709)

It's time to develop some serious long range, portable EMP capabilities. Otherwise we are in deep doo-doo.

Re:How will we defend ourselves? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45113889)

They'll have copper skin that acts as a faraday cage to prevent that.

Great for the ones running it (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45113725)

Great for the ones leading the robots, whether it be governments, corporations or lords.
Crappy for whomever they are sent against as they will not disobey orders.... Whether they be American citizens, homeless people, freedom fighters etc...

Sorry, but as much as I like the thought of taking people out of harms way, the potential for abuse here far outstrips any gain we could possibly have for it. So long as they know a huge portion of the military will refuse to do some things, it restrains the ones giving orders, as soon as they know they will follow all orders, no matter how fucked up, and never disobey or defect, the sociopaths of the world with power can get REALLY creative then....

Re: Great for the ones running it (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45113755)

The necessity to convince to people to go and fight has been a limiting factor in history.

Re: Great for the ones running it (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about 6 months ago | (#45113949)

This easily solves the problem of the reluctance of soldiers to fire on their own citizenry.

One great benefit of Weaponized robots (1)

arcite (661011) | about 6 months ago | (#45113727)

Implant a small explosive charge and when their regular ammunition is expended, the operator can initiate a 'kamikaze' maneuver. No retreat for robots! They'll gladly die for their makers.

Re:One great benefit of Weaponized robots (1)

jimshatt (1002452) | about 6 months ago | (#45114351)

First of all, why small? If you're going to kamikaze anyway, then do it well. Secondly, srsly? It's not like these things are made from paper maché, they're expensive you know.

no skin in the game (2)

iggymanz (596061) | about 6 months ago | (#45113733)

our killing machines already often target innocents, we bomb people who did not attack us, our land mines and cluster bomblets kill innocents years after a conflict over.

Re:no skin in the game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45113847)

It's not a game.

Re:no skin in the game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45114009)

Just because you say it is not a game does not mean it is not a game.

hi :) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45113735)

hello everyone :)

Resentment (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45113745)

I'm sure that using robots against opponents will in now way build resentment and hatred for the United States, who is more than willing to sacrifice others in their wars, but has no taste for putting their own lives on the line for their beliefs.

This may win the US battles, but it's going to lose the war on building any sustainable relationships with other cultures.

Re:Resentment (1)

Oil_Tan (854423) | about 6 months ago | (#45113813)

"American exceptionalism. We are the CITY UPON THE HILL. With stormtroopers and a robot boot on everyone's throat. With an absence of class distinction now....all are the enemy. Have a nice day :)

Re:Resentment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45113915)

They already don't like us, so what have we got to lose?

Re:Resentment (3, Insightful)

prefec2 (875483) | about 6 months ago | (#45114413)

Instead of alienating everybody you could start to be cooperative. Listen to other cultures, be trustworthy, compromise, don't try to be the bully in the schoolyard. Use your military only to defend you home country and eventually the territory of allies.

In summary: Don't be the imperialist you have been in the decades since 1945. Your president Eisenhower already saw that coming. Now you have a world (6 billion people) who find you untrustworthy, bully and a pain in the ass. The robots will not solve this issue.

Re:Resentment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45114039)

resentment and hatred for the United States

Already exists. Plus it is a two way street. If we're putting troops on the ground in your country then here's a newsflash for you:

WE'RE NOT VERY FOND OF YOU EITHER AND DON'T GIVE A SHIT IF YOU RESENT US.
YOU FUCKED WITH THE BULL AND NOW YOU'RE GETTING THE HORNS.

Re:Resentment (1)

prefec2 (875483) | about 6 months ago | (#45114435)

What do you mean? Do you want to invade China or the EU? Because we are very pissed about you spying on us (in cooperation with the British government of course). Honestly, the US runs around like a bully and wonders when it is disliked everywhere. Maybe, just maybe, try to cooperate with the rest of us, meaning 6 billion people.

BTW: Empires, who only base their strength on their military always have fallen. Cooperation is a much better solution.

Re:Resentment (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45114459)

BTW: Empires, who only base their strength on their military always have fallen. Cooperation is a much better solution.

This time it's different. We have robots now.

Re:Resentment (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | about 6 months ago | (#45114473)

BTW: Empires, who only base their strength on their military always have fallen. Cooperation is a much better solution.

But...but...we're Exceptional! God Loves Us! The American Empire will last forever! It's our Manifest Destiny!

(Tongue-in-cheek, but too many of my fellow Americans think that way.)

Re:Resentment (1)

prefec2 (875483) | about 6 months ago | (#45114365)

While you are true in the essence of your conclusion, you are wrong in using the term "war on building any sustainable relationships". First, war is not a very well chosen term in context of relationship or sustainable. For sustainable relationships the US must learn to compromise and cooperate with other. But the whole political system in the US is based on competition of two parties, and the "winner takes it all"-mentality. It has become worse in recent years including the previous Bush administration.

Re:Resentment (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about 6 months ago | (#45114517)

has no taste for putting their own lives on the line
 
Really? I though that a large majority of coalition troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are the US military.

Re:Resentment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45114539)

Nonsense. You build sustainable relationships by not getting into un-necessary wars. Only legitimate war is that thrust upon you because of existential threats or on principle.
The US is not going to be hated extra because of use of robots. So I don't see any reason for the US to not use armed robots for war.
The key is deciding which wars to fight, and why.

Re:Resentment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45114609)

That is indeed a worry, but what I resent the most is that so much of the equipment and techniques that have been applied to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan somehow find their way back to Police forces in the West.

Re:Resentment (1)

fa2k (881632) | about 6 months ago | (#45114761)

Isn't that like saying it's more wrong to kill someone with a sniper rifle than to beat them to death with fists

OTOH... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45114795)

People won't think twice about lighting their metal asses up. If anyone has any reservations about retaliating against a human oppressor now(they are just doing their jobs etc....) , that will all be removed from the equation. Hell, some people would even view that as 'fun'.

Not Autonomous (1)

Princeofcups (150855) | about 6 months ago | (#45113769)

These are not what everyone is imagining. The Nazis did this 60 years ago.

Re:Not Autonomous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45113845)

A possible shift in the minds of the "enemy" may be that they can no longer count on blowing up US troops as part of a conflict.

If there is one thing that the drones have shown (right or wrong) is that the US military can effectively target anyone without risking personnel which is of huge political benefit.

Psychologically, I think that is forcing the re-evaluation of the "state based agressors", that they are not on equal terms...

My $0.02.

Re:Not Autonomous (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 6 months ago | (#45113945)

A possible shift in the minds of the "enemy" may be that they can no longer count on blowing up US troops as part of a conflict.

If there is one thing that the drones have shown (right or wrong) is that the US military can effectively target anyone without risking personnel which is of huge political benefit.

Psychologically, I think that is forcing the re-evaluation of the "state based agressors", that they are not on equal terms...

My $0.02.

The problem is any asymmetrical conflict inevitably requires boots on the ground at some point. Even if soldiers aren't on the front lines, you will need them to patrol cities, guard bases, and do pretty much anything else that involves contact with local civilians. That means they are targets. Engagement is a key component of winning the support of the population, and having armed robots everywhere will only hurt that. Personally I am against robotic combatants except in very limited instances. Robert E Lee once said "It is good that war should be so terrible, lest we grow too fond of it." Too many non-human combatants and war will lose a lot of its terribleness. War should always have a human price. Otherwise it quickly loses it's disincentive.

Re:Not Autonomous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45113995)

I agree and that is sort of my point. Think how unaccountable the Gov's are when people ARE dying! I cannot think they would be less ambitious when they are not.

The thing about boots on the ground, is that there was no other way of overseeing an area. With drones, I am willing to bet that movements of people can be tracked quite efficiently such that patrols do not get ambushed so frequently. Think of all the new tech that is yet to be integrated..!

I am not trying to say it is good or bad but in terms of asymmetry, having an unlimited supply of robots warriors would/should terrify any sane opponent...

Re:Not Autonomous (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 6 months ago | (#45114059)

I am not trying to say it is good or bad but in terms of asymmetry, having an unlimited supply of robots warriors would/should terrify any sane opponent...

It wouldn't terrify them. They would love it. It would play right into their propaganda and would allow them to recruit a much larger portion of the population than they could otherwise. To me, robotic combatants only have a major role in conventional warfare. Instead of using a Wild Weasel on a SAM/AA site, send in a swarm of drones. Augment the front lines and protect your tanks with squads of TOW-armed robots. Use robots for CSAR or medical exacuations.

There will be a conventional war within the next century. It is pretty much inevitable. Train the people to fight asymmetrical wars. Build robots to help fight the conventional one.

Re:Not Autonomous (2)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | about 6 months ago | (#45114235)

The Taliban in Pakistan aren't at the negotiating table trying to get the drone attacks stopped because it's ineffective. They're their because, if you're a Taliban leader, you never know when you're about to be killed by a drone strike - and that kind of takes the edge of all the perks of being a warlord when you get promoted while they're still looking for the last guys smoking boots.

Frankly, the idea that the US would be less hated if they showed up in person with soldiers to kill people is just propaganda from the other side. The US is hated because they're killing a bunch of civilians when they carry out drone strikes. They'd be just as hated if they did it with tanks or commandos.

Re:Not Autonomous (2)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 6 months ago | (#45114441)

Frankly, the idea that the US would be less hated if they showed up in person with soldiers to kill people is just propaganda from the other side. The US is hated because they're killing a bunch of civilians when they carry out drone strikes. They'd be just as hated if they did it with tanks or commandos.

It's not propaganda, it is simple common sense. Armored vehicles, drones, etc dehumanize the counterinsurgency force, distances them from the population. It is much easier to hate a thing, an action, instead of a person. Theorists on both sides of asymmetrical conflicts, such as Thompson and Mao, note the importance of earning and maintaining the trust and support of the local population. Insurgents do this by weakening, or appearing to weaken, the position of the government by bombings, attacking key infrastructure or supposedly secure areas, which allows them to essentially set up their own state in areas they control, fulfilling what are normally governmental roles. The government has to block the attempts of the insurgents to undermine their legitimacy. To do this they have to work with the local population, interact with them on a daily basis. Patrols need to be done on foot whenever possible, so as to establish relationships with the locals, so that they will feel safe coming to the government to report insurgent activity in the area. It means meeting with local leadership, speaking to shopkeepers at the market, giving food and candy to children, and helping to rebuild damaged areas or bringing in aid. This subject was actually a significant part of my Masters thesis.

And commandos would probably lessen the collateral damage accrued on a mission, because they are trained to be selective in their application of force. Of course, using commandos for these types of missions would mean higher casualty rates and attrition in units that are already stretched thin, as well as the political ramifications of American troops operating on Pakistani soil (but if you don't think the Pakistanis have indirectly given the US permission to undertake drone strikes on their territory you are mistaken). But no, collateral damage cannot be avoided in asymmetrical warfare for the simple fact that insurgents intentionally hide and operate in areas where they have civilians for cover or protection. So, the idea is to limit collateral damage, which is best done by boots on the ground. You are right. They already have plenty of things to hate us about. Why go out of our way to add one more reason?

Re:Not Autonomous (3, Interesting)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 6 months ago | (#45113993)

"State-based aggressors" basically went out with the fall of the Soviet Union. 9/11 brought Asymmetrical Warface (terrorism) to the forefront. Drones reverse the asymmetry.

Drones and autonomous war robots have been the ultimate dream of generals through the ages. Soldiers who don't question orders. Who will kill anyone without hesitation or conscience. And who don't return bearing drug addictions and PTSD which can make them a burden - or a menace - to the peasants paying for it all back home.

It all sounds so wonderful, but just the other day came a plea from Malala to discontinue the use of assassin drones. And if anyone is entitled to cheer for the efficient extermination of the Taliban she is the one. It's not enough that they tried to kill her once, they're recently declared that - big brave Warriors of God that they are - they will try to kill this girl again.

So maybe it isn't so wonderful after all. War is not a mathematical or academic exercise. Donald Rumsfeld tried to treat it as such, and we've seen the results.

Maybe the best way to win a war is not to go to war.

Re:Not Autonomous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45114093)

Thank you for refining my point. When I said "state based" I guess I meant "with the resources of a state" -i.e. rich.

It would be nice to not go to war, but while there are "more unequal societies out there", I suspect it will distract the "unequal societies here"

The whole "nation of islam" label can be interpreted as a "non-western" identity, and the Taliban are simply the wing-nut end of that scale.

The problem is the "west"/capitalist society has moved to become mostly secular and so governments/political groups aligned with "culturally incompatible values" (e.g. lopping of hands, state base misogny etc) are a perpetual target.

It is just that 500 years ago, the "west" started the process of dismantling the state based religions, and the rest of the world has been less successful.
To clarify, most of what we "need" to live is provided by secular resources, whereas this has been "entwined" with the state in these countries which brings with it political control of the country.

Hence, our govts want them to be like us, and some will say "god says so". Their govts have to say "death to the enemy god says so". A combined mouthpiece for religious political force.

I guess that makes it $.04.
   

Re:Not Autonomous (1)

Oil_Tan (854423) | about 6 months ago | (#45114147)

God always had a funny way of loving mankind. Like, threatening to destroy everyone in the world. We know Samson loved God and God loved Samson, especially when he was as flat as a pancake....not to mention destroying the land of milk and honey....lot's more, but you probably know the stories.

Re:Not Autonomous (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 6 months ago | (#45114559)

Maybe the best way to win a war is not to go to war.

That is true, but when war comes knocking, you still have to answer the door. Look at the US during World War I/II. It only takes one side to start a war, and they are more likely to attack someone that hasn't prepared for war over one that has. It is all well and good to not desire war. In fact, I would say most who have seen it and many who have studied it would hesitate going to war. But sometimes war is unavoidable and may be the best option available.

Remember: Si vis pacem, para bellum

To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace. -George Washington

Everywhere men pray for peace, but prepare for war.- Winston Churchill

Re:Not Autonomous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45114007)

...the US military can effectively target anyone without risking personnel which is of huge political benefit.

Domestic benefit sure, foreign not so much.

It's the future (4, Insightful)

onyxruby (118189) | about 6 months ago | (#45113893)

It's the future and whining about it is no different than whining about the advent of the rifle or the machine gun or the bow. Your taking the fight away from the human being through a layer of abstraction to keep your soldier alive. The layer of abstraction in this case happens to be a robot, once upon a time it was a gun or a bow.

The people complaining about this are really no different than the Luddites that think warfare should be conduced hand to hand with swords and maces. They wont be satisfied unless their own soldiers are getting killed on the battlefield too. Technology advances whether you want it to or not. Change and human nature are the only things that stay the same.

Re:It's the future (1)

ogdenk (712300) | about 6 months ago | (#45114247)

My problem isn't the fact that they are building killer robots.... it's the fact that the other side doesn't have anything close and these will be used to hit non-military targets and/or populations of civilians in 3rd world countries full of poor dirt farmers that we've pissed off.

Slaughtering people with machines from thousands of miles away to protect your country's interests with no official declaration of war is a little sick. We'd be killing real people, they'd simply be breaking an expensive toy. Doesn't seem right. And you can bet your ass they'd use these things on us if the time came.

And if you think our government is a bunch of war-mongers now.... wait until every war is simply an economic boost for their defense contractor buddies and doesn't cost much in American lives. Then we'll use our robot army to ensure no one has the power to ever be a considerable threat to the US and bully the planet with it forever.

Re:It's the future (1, Interesting)

onyxruby (118189) | about 6 months ago | (#45114383)

Remove the hyberbole from your argument and people are much more likely to take you seriously.

My problem isn't the fact that they are building killer robots.... it's the fact that the other side doesn't have anything close

For an example of something where the two sides had something close you need only look at WWI. The two sides had very close capacity, the result was a multiyear quagmire that resulted in the death in tens of millions of people as neither side was able to quickly 'win'. Because it was so drawn out with everyone tied down it also directly resulted in the Spanish flu killing tens of millions of people. Wars that are "fair" are wars that kill far more people than wars that aren't and history is riddle with countless millions of dead bodies that prove my point.

these will be used to hit non-military targets and/or populations of civilians

The US hasn't targeted civilian centers since WW2, luckily technology has changed quite a bit since then. The reality is that they have spent billions of dollars developing better technology for the sole purpose of not hitting civilians. Hitting civilians only pisses off the local population and it places your assets at risk for another run because your original military target still has to be taken out. A more accurate weapon is far more valuable for any military. Unless your Hezbollah or a similiar terrorist organization, there simply isn't any value in using weapons against civilians.

Then we'll use our robot army to ensure no one has the power to ever be a considerable threat to the US and bully the planet with it forever.

The US provides more foreign aid than other country on earth and has done so for decades. Any number of nations depend of the US for medical and food aid for basic survival and have for decades. I know it's popular in certain circles to hate on the US, but try doing a little actual research before hopping on the hype train.

Re:It's the future (2)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 6 months ago | (#45114749)

You are wrong on many points.
WWII costed roughly 50 million deaths, not a mere few 10 millions.
The spanish flue costed close to 200 million deaths, not a mere few 10 million.
The US army bombed civilian centers in korea and vietnam, that is after WWII if I recall corectly.
Foreign aid of the USA per capita is more or less the same as other civilized nations and far behind scandinavian nations.

Also keep in mind: which nations get for what project foreign aid? I bet even "schooling" a foreign secret agency falls under foreign aid.

The united states are so keen to have "drones" and soon semi automatic drones and robots because they realized the rest of the first world is not really inot that.
That means when the resource wars start (if they start) the USA can easy fight a gainst a combined force of the other first world countries.

For third world countries a few cruise misssiles and the actual drones are enough.

The USA are preparing with all might to dominate their (current) allies (soon enemies), that is all what this new "lets make all kinds of war robots" is about.

Re:It's the future (1, Insightful)

onyxruby (118189) | about 6 months ago | (#45114895)

I said WWI, not WW2.

For an example of something where the two sides had something close you need only look at WWI.

The death toll of WWI was around 37,000,000 - which sounds a lot like 'tens of millions'. The death toll of the Spanish flu was about 50 million [cdc.gov] (with high estimates of 100 million), which also sounds a lot like 'tens of millions'.

Foreign aid of the USA per capita is more or less the same as other civilized nations and far behind scandinavian nations.

There are lies, damn lies and statistics, and what you did right there is a perfect example. My statement is factual and you are trying to manipulate statistics in such a way to take credit away from where it is due. Your statement is disingenuous when the US gives tens of Billions of dollars more in Foreign aid per year, every single year.

The US army was crippled in Vietnam by a policy of not bombing near civilian centers which is why the North built as much of their military strength their as they could. They knew the US wouldn't touch anything near the cities [navy.mil] and fully exploited the policy. The inability to target anything near a city was directly inspirational for the development of GPS guided munitions that are in use today.

Next time you might want to pause and read what I actually wrote and take a moment to look for some citations before responding. Just like with the other guy, remove the hyberbole and it's much easier to take you seriously. For the meanwhile I'd like to suggest you spend a little time in the history section of your local library before trying to argue history next time.

Re:It's the future (2)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 6 months ago | (#45115185)

Lies?
Death toll of spanish flue is 180M minimum, read wikipedia.
Lieas about per capita foreign aid? Germany + france + Uk, the three behind USA in foreign aid, have less the population together the USA have and spends the same amount the USA does, read your own fucking government site.

Yadda yadda yaddda about your lame excuses now about US bombings in Vietnam and Korea. The USA had nothing to do or seek there, they simply tried again to stay on top of world supremancy. And yes, now you admit they did bombings on civilians, before you claimed they never did that after WWII (or was it WWI ? )

I would suggest you spend also some time about history, and note: not the history written by the victors. The true history might help, and the internet is full with "corrected" history stories that are wrongly told in USA.

Re:It's the future (1)

miletus (552448) | about 6 months ago | (#45114815)

So in your reality, there were no civilians in Pyongyang and Hanoi? Or World War 2 ended in the 1970s?

Re:It's the future (1)

Morpf (2683099) | about 6 months ago | (#45115187)

Remove the hyberbole from your argument and people are much more likely to take you seriously.

I'm sorry but I don't find any hyperbole in his comment.

My problem isn't the fact that they are building killer robots.... it's the fact that the other side doesn't have anything close

For an example of something where the two sides had something close you need only look at WWI. The two sides had very close capacity, the result was a multiyear quagmire that resulted in the death in tens of millions of people as neither side was able to quickly 'win'.

In WW II many more people died than in WW I, just in case you didn't knew.

Wars that are "fair" are wars that kill far more people than wars that aren't and history is riddle with countless millions of dead bodies that prove my point.

these will be used to hit non-military targets and/or populations of civilians

Ever heard of the Thirty Years' War? Less casualties than WW I. You should reconsider your "proof" maybe.

The US hasn't targeted civilian centers since WW2, luckily technology has changed quite a bit since then.

Wrong, see other comment.

The reality is that they have spent billions of dollars developing better technology for the sole purpose of not hitting civilians.

Yup, like on cluster bombs, prohibited by a convention most countries of the world signed, like the chemical weapons developed and produced in masses and the biological weapons developed and the atomic and hydrogen bombs developed. Sorry what world do you life in?

Then we'll use our robot army to ensure no one has the power to ever be a considerable threat to the US and bully the planet with it forever.

The US provides more foreign aid than other country on earth and has done so for decades. Any number of nations depend of the US for medical and food aid for basic survival and have for decades. I know it's popular in certain circles to hate on the US, but try doing a little actual research before hopping on the hype train.

Can't comment on that but likely wrong, as stated in other reply. But undoubtedly the US are fighting more wars than every other country in this world.

Re:It's the future (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about 6 months ago | (#45114475)

the other side doesn't have anything close
 
China doesn't have anything close? Maybe not yet, but surely it will pretty soon, not to mention that they have more military age males than the entire population of the USA. We might need some robots.

Re:It's the future (3, Insightful)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | about 6 months ago | (#45114257)

As semi-automatic weapons where the gun is controlled by a human, yes, robots are probably the future of US warfare. The US military and public have always been obsessed with rating the lifes of American soldiers and citizens ten to hundred times higher than that of any other fellow human being on earth, including innocent civilian bystanders.

As a fully autonomous weapon, I very much doubt these robots will be usable any time in the foreseeable future, though. Reliable friend/foe recognition is a problem that will not be solved anytime soon. I'm not claiming that friendly fire is not a problem among humans, but we allow humans to make more errors than machines. When soldiers are getting shot at by their own automatized war machines, they will accept that less than if one of their fellow humans makes a mistake.

Re:It's the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45114305)

This just highlights the pointlessness of war. Fighting robots vs robots is no different than two people playing each other in a computer game and throwing money into a furnace when they lose something.

In times gone by, wars were fought by people with some kind of personal purpose (whatever that may be). Robots don't have that need. War just becomes a game between two idiots in power, spending money that is not theirs.

Re:It's the future (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 6 months ago | (#45114319)

This does have one important distinction from previous weapons though - in the past there always had to be men behind the weapons. A bow, a rifle, or an artillery shell make it easier to kill "the enemy", both physically and emotionally, than with a melee weapon that puts you face to face with your opponent, but there is still a person making the decision to fire every single shot. As we move towards autonomous killing machines though that changes. And let's not kid ourselves, whether or not the current designs are fully autonomous that's where things are going - full autonomy is just a software upgrade away.

And that does change things - throughout history one of the major limiting factors on despotic authoritarianism has been the loyalty of the troops. Good men will eventually refuse to commit further atrocities, and you can only hire so many psychopathic bullies before the cleverer ones start undermining your authority with an eye toward taking the crown for themselves.

I do agree that this is something that looks like it will happen regardless of anyone's complaints, precisely because the potential for abuse is so great. It grieves me that it's the nation that was once a shining symbol of freedom and democracy that's spearheading the development, but such is life. The question then becomes what freedom-loving people can do to make resistance a viable option.

Re:It's the future (1)

Morpf (2683099) | about 6 months ago | (#45115069)

You know if you take the fighting away from the human, you take it away from empathy, reasoning and responsibility. Robots won't resist killing innocent people like women, children and elderly. People will question wars even less, as they and their relatives are not in danger by fighting the war anymore and neither they nor their ancestors and relatives never experienced the ugliness of fighting themselves. Combine this with the many wars the USA is fighting already and you get a quite dark picture of a possibly upcoming society. You saying "stop whining, this is just the way the world goes" underlines your lack of empathy and reasoning.

Your postulation that human nature would always be the same is actually no more than your personal thesis. Show me some evidence, that society is unable to learn to cooperate and empathize. In fact what defines humanity and society _is_ cooperation, trust and empathy. I think what you allude to is that sociopaths with power will behave like sociopaths with power (if not stopped).

Re:It's the future (1)

onyxruby (118189) | about 6 months ago | (#45115223)

What makes you think anyone would ever tolerate using robots on civilians? Your asking that the civilians in charge start ordering the murder of civilians in a manner that only happens in science fiction books.

If anything it could be argued that by removing emotions they are less likely to lose their cool and go overboard. A robot doesn't have PTSD, doesn't suffer from racism, sexism or other ism's and isn't subject to the same discrimination that humans are subject too.

It doesn't care that someone is smelly, it doesn't get annoyed, doesn't suffer from mental illness and can have the rules of engagement hard coded into it's instruction set. Robots are less likely to make mistakes, get sloppy, suffer fatigue and in the end are probably less likely to suffer friendly fire incidents.

Can a robot be subject to programming errors? Of course, entire books and movies have covered the subject for decades, meaning anybody working on one is highly cognizant of the possibility and likely to do their damnedest to make sure that doesn't happen.

Re:It's the future (1)

Morpf (2683099) | about 6 months ago | (#45115329)

Sorry but a) software errors are _everywhere_ and b) why do you think some sociopath with enough power would _not_ order to kill innocent people? Just take a look at this list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genocides_in_history [wikipedia.org]. Do you really think genocides are _less_ likely if your "soldiers" won't question anything or riot?

Geneva Convention (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45113929)

Wonder if the prohibitions in the Geneva Convention will even be heeded.

Re:Geneva Convention (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 6 months ago | (#45114103)

Today, as ever, treaties are only binding upon those who don't feel they have an overwhelming advantage.

Hunted by robots (1)

jjp9999 (2180664) | about 6 months ago | (#45114141)

I just realized that in some parts of the world, there is a very real threat of being killed by robots.

if they are going to start using robots (1)

FudRucker (866063) | about 6 months ago | (#45114149)

on civilians i hope somebody builds some RFI or EMP weapons to defend against them, i would gladly fry the circuits on robots roaming the streets in my neighborhood

Re:if they are going to start using robots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45114985)

then get to work pal.

Re:if they are going to start using robots (1)

FudRucker (866063) | about 6 months ago | (#45115247)

I am strictly low tech, i would rather drop a tree on them, or cut a 220 volt power line and use that to fry it

Let Taliban do it first ! (1)

Lacompa Cida (3396233) | about 6 months ago | (#45114421)

From the comments, sounds like what everyone wants is for the US to stop developing robotic weapon systems. This will let Iran, North Korea and Taliban to develop these first and then we can play catch up 20 years behind them. Playing catch is so much fun. Weapon development must be a US monopoly ?

Re:Let Taliban do it first ! (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 6 months ago | (#45114783)

Taliban developing robots?
In what dream do you live?

The Taliban live in the stone age, trading their opium and other resources for first world weapons.

There is no way they develop anything more sophisticated than a new type of body bomb.

A robot is not just simply assembled from off the shelf parts (yet) and its control and programming is not something a smart high school kid can do on its own (perhaps access to hughe internet resources might help)

Re:Let Taliban do it first ! (1)

losfromla (1294594) | about 6 months ago | (#45115011)

Hmm, how about the thing that Ian Lamont (Jack Black) built for The Jackal (Bruce Willis) in "The Jackal"? Add some wheels to that bad boy, a little more software sophistication and you're most of the way there. So, I'd say that a well equipped machine shop with a McMaster catalog and an attached software geek could handily come up with a decent arduino based solution.

Re:Let Taliban do it first ! (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 6 months ago | (#45115195)

If they can import all the needed parts from the outside of their country, yes!
Does that mean they can develop their own stuff, in their own country, with their own technology?

Why are we so obsessed with fighting? (1)

wjcofkc (964165) | about 6 months ago | (#45114433)

Increasing killing efficiency to save lives. The irony is over the top. All sides taken into account, we will not be satisfied as a species until every last human is dead. At least then we will have lasting peace and equality.

Re:Why are we so obsessed with fighting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45114531)

We need to get Ethics in on this planet.

Re:Why are we so obsessed with fighting? (1)

dokebi (624663) | about 6 months ago | (#45114535)

Why are we so obsessed with fighting?

1. Because we (the US) did not become the dominant country in the world by technology and innovation alone.

2. Also because we (the human species) did not become the dominant species on the planet by technology and innovation alone.

Re:Why are we so obsessed with fighting? (3, Insightful)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 6 months ago | (#45114581)

We are "obsessed" with fighting because at its core the human being is an animal. Animals fight for food, for territory, for reproduction. Strip down every conflict in recorded human history and you will find at least one of those elements at it's core. Or, put in other words, resources are and always will be finite. Someone will always have more than someone else, and survival dictates that the only way to get what you need that another has is by coercive force.

If they're members of the squad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45114653)

They should also have the right to not join the army if they so choose.
Individual rights should be granted to all sentient beings.

A US soldier still decides when to shoot... (1)

Trip6 (1184883) | about 6 months ago | (#45114883)

We have a rule in the US that a human must make the final call before delivering any ordinance, be it by soldier, drone, or robot. The problem is that many foreign countries that figure this out won't have this moral impediment. Yes, this is worth worrying about...
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