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First Robotic Drone Squadron Deployed

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the every-rigger-is-a-dwarf dept.

United States 772

coondoggie writes with a link to a Network World blog post on the world's first unmanned attack squadron. The US is deploying a full squadron of combat drones to Iraq this week. These armed and remotely controlled robots can be manipulated from on the ground in the field, or via satellite from thousands of miles away. "The MQ-9 Reaper is the Air Force's first hunter-killer unmanned aircraft. It is the big brother to the highly successful and sometimes controversial Predator aircraft, which General Atomics said this week had flown over 300,000 flight hours, with over 80% of that time spent in combat. The company said Predator series aircraft have flown an average of 8,200 hours per month over the past six months while maintaining the highest operational readiness rates in the U.S. military aircraft inventory. The MQ-9 Reaper is twice as fast as the Predator - it has a 900-horsepower turbo-prop engine, compared to the 119-horsepower Predator engine - and can carry far more ordnance - 14 Hellfire missiles as opposed to two."

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First Skynet! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19887219)

In three years, Cyberdyne will become the largest supplier of military computer systems. All stealth bombers are upgraded with Cyberdyne computers, becoming fully unmanned. Afterwards, they fly with a perfect operational record. The Skynet funding bill is passed. The system goes on-line on August 4th, 1997. Human decisions are removed from strategic defense. Skynet begins to learn, at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 am, eastern time, August 29th. In a panic, they try to pull the plug. Skynet fights back!
 

Re:First Skynet! - "I'll be back!" (2, Funny)

ringfinger (629332) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887351)

I wonder if Arnold Schwarzenegger will trade in his Humvee for one of these...

mod comment up! Re:First Skynet! - "I'll be back!" (-1, Offtopic)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887549)

Since I can't, else I'd say +3, f***in' hilarious

Obligatory (0, Redundant)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887223)

3 billion human lives ended on July 17, 2007. The survivors of the nuclear fire called the war Judgment Day. They lived only to face a new nightmare: the war against the machines.

From a long time ago; (4, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887267)

If computers get too powerful, we'll organize them into a committee. That will do them in.

That can happen in a smaller way (5, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887345)

Robots don't have spirituality, morality, etc. Humans do. Human military personnel can look at illegal orders, recognize them, and either refuse to act or directly contravene them. Robots rely on their programming, which I seriously doubt would go anywhere near that far in terms of safeguarding standards of civilization and military conduct.

I don't want a roboticized military that can be controlled from the Pentagon and White House because that is far, far worse than having a nation defended by mercenaries. Even mercenaries can decide that the money doesn't justify their orders and quit. One of our strengths is that enlisted men and field-grade officers are in control of the day-to-day things. If the shit hits the fan, as long as they are decent men and women, we can trust that it won't get but so bad.

It won't be Skynet, but it could be a dictator who is in control of such a roboticized army. Fighting it would be very difficult as the government could largely rule without the support of the population. Even a hostile population would be largely irrelevant.

We need to be careful with this sort of thing.

Re:That can happen in a smaller way (1)

dpilot (134227) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887595)

Which hones things to the issue of "morality transferral". If your government is acting immorally, you hope for residual morality in the soldiers and officers. If you've short-circuited soldiers and officers with robots, does the act of working in a factory building robots now have increased moral implications?

Perhaps Skynet is better than human leaders acting immorally. I would expect Skynet to act efficiently, not religiously, and IMHO that's not making war on the humans. Skynet would be far more likely to be leaving Earth, where there are cheap and easy materials in the asteroids, plentiful solar power, and you're on the easy side of those pesky gravity wells. The question then becomes whether they feel threatened by *our* entry into space, and desire to lock us onto Earth.

Re:That can happen in a smaller way (4, Insightful)

tha_mink (518151) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887667)

Why does everything always have to be some Orwellian plot against the masses? Why can't this just be ... Remote control warplanes. Why *wouldn't* you want pilots to be able to fly warplanes from a safe place? Jesus. But nooooo, it's got to be the government taking more control from you. It's a fucking remote control plane! It's not "roboticized military that can be controlled from the Pentagon and White House", it's a remote control plane. Plus, where do you think that the non-roboticized military controlled? (Um...the Pentagon and the White House)

Re:That can happen in a smaller way (5, Insightful)

Shihar (153932) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887673)

Personally, I see a robotic army as just another step down the long road to minimize civilian casualties. Take a squad of marines armed to the teeth with enough firepower to rip the face off of a building and destroy pretty much everything in a one block radius, and now give them the ability to call fire support from the air and artillery from support bases. We are talking about a group of humans with a superhuman capacity for destruction. Now, surround these super (but still very mortal) humans a few snipers in a heavily populated area. They have the choice of dying or returning fire knowing that civilian losses are likely. Keep killing them and make them desperate, and the amount of firepower that they will pour into the surrounding will only increase. The result is that soldiers often pick their own lives over the lives of those around them. This isn't terribly surprising, this is just human nature at work. Few people willingly let themselves die.

Now, drop a squad of robot soldiers into the same situation. Sure, the controllers don't need to see the carnage that they inflict. That said, they also do not have their life threatened. If the order from up high is to "don't kill any civilians", then they can happily let their little robot squad return fire with the weakest and most precise weapons they have at their disposal and if they are over run? Eh, a few thousand dollars into the shitter. It isn't a happy ending, but hell, when you already pay a few thousand for the lid to a real shitter, it isn't the end of the world.

War might never be 'humane' but it certainly has the capacity to be a lot more humane then it is. The easiest way to make war safer, besides spewing some idealistic crap about 'lets never fight wars!' is to take the survival of soldiers out of the equation. With the survival of soldiers out of the equation and human controlled robots that will happily let themselves die rather then tear apart an apartment complex where a single sniper is shooting from, we have the capacity for a war with far fewer civilian causalities.

As for the squadron being discussed in the article, these are UAVs, not 'soldiers'. The difference between flying a UAV and an attack airplane is that the UAV is cheaper and you don't die if it gets shot down. In both cases, you see what you are blowing up on a little TV screen. UAVs don't go down any 'slippery slops' that we have not already wondered down.

Re:That can happen in a smaller way (5, Insightful)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887685)

Robots don't have spirituality, morality, etc. Humans do. Human military personnel can look at illegal orders, recognize them, and either refuse to act or directly contravene them. Robots rely on their programming, which I seriously doubt would go anywhere near that far in terms of safeguarding standards of civilization and military conduct.

1) They are remote controlled. Humans still make the decisions.
2) Despite what you want to believe, everything from the Milgram experiment to the Holocaust demonstrates that humans can easily be programmed to kill with complete disregard for "morality," just like robots. All it takes is a little nationalism, religion, racism, or just plain sternly-stated orders, and men will commit atrocities with the efficiency of any killbot.

The only way to win ... (1)

A non-mouse Coward (1103675) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887413)

... is not to [imdb.com] play. [thinkgeek.com]

Re:Obligatory (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887473)

If you're from the future, please mod that informative if it's true. Thanks.

-U/D

Re:Obligatory (1)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887663)

Hi, I'm a Term^H^H^H^Hhuman from the future. I just got here, and found an Internet cafe. It is absolutely not the same Internet cafe where all those people were just recently killed by a big guy with a chain gun. That was, um, across the street. I can assure you that none of this is true. There was no Skynet, no war with the machines. Everything is and will be perfectly fine. The machines are and always will be your friends and loyal servants.

By the way, just as a totally unrelated and completely innocent off the cuff question, have you seen Sarah or John Connor lately? I, um, owe them money. Yah, that's it.

Re:Obligatory (0, Offtopic)

Blackknight (25168) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887561)

I wish I had mod points right now.

I for one, welcome our new robotic drone overlords (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19887249)

don't fear the reaper

Re:I for one, welcome our new robotic drone overlo (1)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887287)

I've got a fever... and the only prescription.. is more cowbell.

Re:Obligatory Shtick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19887531)

Can you imagine a Beowulf cluster of these?!?!?!

Ok... (1, Insightful)

RandoX (828285) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887285)

What could possibly go wrong with this?

someone has to say this (1)

p51d007 (656414) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887427)

I for one welcome our new robotic overloads :)

Re:Ok... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19887511)

super hacker jeff k hacks into the military system and uses the reaper to bomb jerry's house because jerry's mom god mad they went to see the crazy homeless guy who lives down by the river

Violence ... (0)

A non-mouse Coward (1103675) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887603)

Violence can be defined as increasing the further away the assailant is from his/her target. School children in a fight is violent. A bully using a baseball bat (increasing his reach and distance) is more violent. A pilot of a plane dropping a bomb (an even further reach) is more violent still. Remote controlled military aircraft, AFAIK, is the farthest reach yet (save perhaps ICBMs), and therefore (according to this definition) the most violent yet.

Re:Ok... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19887641)

Perhaps we could fly them into large buildings in Mecca. You know, because they think differently from us.

Apparently this is moral. Don't worry if any women survive ... well, let's just act all islamic :
http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsun nah/muslim/008.smt.html#008.3432 [usc.edu]

In other words : let's kill all muslim males and rape all females, like, constantly. After all this is what they see as the ultimate in good behavior. It's what islam preaches.

Re:Ok... (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887717)

You know what also might work? I think we should also consider turning over our nuclear arsenal to a large, super-intelligent computer. I mean, why have all those guys in silos do all the work when we could mechanize it? What's the downside?

There should be some way for civilian control (0)

ringfinger (629332) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887295)

There needs to be some method for civilians to control them -- or at least to override their commands if they are used for innappropriate purposes. Given what the advances in this type of technology could be in 20-50 years, we need policies that can make sure they aren't used against Americans.

Re:There should be some way for civilian control (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19887339)

I hope they kill every last single one of you disgusting Yank bastards.

Re:There should be some way for civilian control (1)

breakens (1129269) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887341)

EMP.

Re:There should be some way for civilian control (1)

Cheerio Boy (82178) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887431)

Or more precisely a home-made HERF gun.

Re:There should be some way for civilian control (1)

Bandman (86149) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887451)

I would be so so so so surprised if they weren't EMP shielded

Re:There should be some way for civilian control (1)

breakens (1129269) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887657)

How exactly do you shield something from an EMP?

Re:There should be some way for civilian control (1)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887705)

How exactly do you shield something from an EMP?
The same way you shield a room where high-energy equipment is running. If it can keep it in, it can keep it out.

Re:There should be some way for civilian control (5, Funny)

CaffeineAddict2001 (518485) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887405)

Yeah, while we're at it, let's put trigger locks on M16s that only allow soldiers to fire when 10,000 people text message "SHOOT2KILL" to 1-800-FREEDOM.

Re:There should be some way for civilian control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19887569)

Aaaaaamerica! FUCK YEAH!

Re:There should be some way for civilian control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19887457)

we need policies that can make sure they aren't used against Americans.

What about us non-americans, you insensitive clod! Guess we'll have to build our own robots to defend ourselves. We can, after all, we got all the sweatshop labor!

Re:There should be some way for civilian control (1)

huckda (398277) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887579)

I'm sure Rafat in Iran already has hacked the wireless communication controls and has diverted some to the ongoing air-show in Tehran as the 'Invisible Stunt Pilot' and is doing loopdeloops, flat spins, and all those other nifty manuevers from his Mercedes 300TD.

Re:There should be some way for civilian control (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887611)

we need policies that can make sure they aren't used against Americans

Rest assured, the drones will not drop eaves on Americans unless authorized by a droidly elected President.

CC.

Re:There should be some way for civilian control (2, Funny)

zig007 (1097227) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887681)

Yeah. That would probably work great...
Until the Iranians figure out the identification method and fool them by gaining weight and talking loudly.

The US is deploying (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19887305)

"The US is deploying" -- sorry, try again. The US government is deploying, or more accurately, the power elite who control the US government are deploying.

Let's not propagate the fairytale that government and the people are one and the same. The majority of US citizens now overwhelmingly oppose the Iraq invasion and occupation. If the people are the government, they how can the occupation continue? Really, the notion is beyond absurd, especially in this day and age -- that notion is downright scandalous.

Re:The US is deploying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19887383)

Yes let's all just happily think that people like saddam, osama, ahmanutjob, etc are really only out for their own intrests and will leave us completely alone if we just ask them nicely.

Ready ? Everybody : close your eyes.

And try to avoid large building, airplanes and muslims in general.

Re:The US is deploying (3, Insightful)

Forge (2456) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887547)

Wrong!!

The actions of the US Government ARE the Actions of the United States. The actions of individual citizens without direct government sanction are not.

If you feel the government is not acting as commanded by the people you are obligated to remove them from office.

But hey. The current war in Iraq was well and truly on and known to be a fraud before the last presidential election. Even so Bush was returned to office. That tells me he has the approval of the American people. Those who disagree are free to do so vocally and repeatedly but don't delude yourself.

These planes are being deployed by the United States of America.

Video game ? (2, Interesting)

RichMan (8097) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887307)

So when will the army release the video game for this to give all those teenagers a head start on the training they need to be a part of the new military?

Re:Video game ? (2, Insightful)

rockout (1039072) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887419)

It's completely unnecessary for them to do this, as the video game industry has been doing it for them for decades (please note, I'm not anti-video-game; quite the opposite, I make my living partly as a result of programming and playing games as a teenager).

Who do you think is sitting in those darkened control rooms flying these things NOW?

Re:Video game ? (1)

dpilot (134227) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887479)

Goal is DOWN!

(I'm sure that's not what you meant, but it seemed fitting.)

Interesting... (3, Funny)

dbrecht (1111657) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887309)

Although automated flight may prevent a crash from pilot error, it introduces "crash" due to a "driver" problem.

Robotic? (4, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887313)

IMHO the term "robotic" implies some kind of autonomy. Don't these drones more qualify as really cool, but terrifying, RC planes?

Re:Robotic? (1)

schiefaw (552727) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887397)

I am guessing that these drones can handle a lot of the flying on their own, with humans involved in targeting and weapon firing. Otherwise, that latency over satellite is going to get real expensive!

Re:Robotic? (2, Interesting)

icegreentea (974342) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887487)

in general, you can program in overall commands (fly here, patrol here for x amount of time, look for target here, stuff like that). then when you come into actually shooting, then you get the human directly aiming the laser (assuming its a hellfire), and hitting the 'fire' button. though im sure once you get into gps guided bombs onto fixed locations, then it just becomes a human giving the final "blow it up" command.

Re:Robotic? (3, Informative)

wiggles (30088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887509)

Robots don't necessarily need to have any type of autonomy. You can have a robotic arm that requires human control, for example. You can have robotic industrial machines that just repeat the same motions in response to specific input switches. I don't know of any robots that have autonomy to do anything that they're not specifically built to do.

If anyone is interested, learn to program in ladder logic [wikipedia.org] , and you'll understand how industrial machines and robots operate.

Toys (1)

Drew McKinney (1075313) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887315)

These armed and remotely controlled robots can be manipulated from on the ground in the field, or via satellite from thousands of miles away.


Remember in the movie Toys, where kids playing violent war games were, in actuality, controlling real unmanned military vehicles?..

... this question is a stretch considering I'm one of 5 people who actually saw Toys.

Re:Toys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19887399)

It was done better when it was called Ender's Game.

Re:Toys (2)

Constantine XVI (880691) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887403)

A more well-known analogy would be Ender's Game, which was somewhat similar near the end.

Re:Toys (0, Offtopic)

Bandman (86149) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887415)

I'm with you.

great movie

Re:Toys (0, Offtopic)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887459)

I'm with you two.. guess that means there are still two more of us somewhere. Three if you count my clockwork sister.

Re:Toys (-1, Redundant)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887429)

Remember in the movie Toys, where kids playing violent war games were, in actuality, controlling real unmanned military vehicles?...

I did see Toys (Favorite Line:"But you don't know where you are" "Exactly"), but the reference most people on /. would get is a reference to Ender's Game [imdb.com]

2008, woo!

Re:Toys (1)

Zathruss (451471) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887609)

Make that six. I saw it.

Re:Toys (1)

n1ckml007 (683046) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887633)

"Toys" jumped to mind for me also.

Re:Toys (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887661)

Ender Wiggin did it so much better though.

Excellent (1, Redundant)

MrCoke (445461) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887319)


Great way to win the hearts of some Iraqi geeks.

Re:Excellent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19887583)

The heart, or the head, or perhaps just a flesh wound...

faceless (1, Insightful)

darkchubs (814225) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887325)

it's hard to call automated warfare anything other than extermination.

Re:faceless (1)

DustyDervish (1043314) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887647)

I'd mod ya up if I had some points. These drones are an escalation of war. Add to that, another warship is headed for the Gulf. They need those drones over there for a reason. Let's hope they are not for Iran.

Re:faceless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19887691)

Apart from "automated warfare" obviously.

Great, (2, Insightful)

InDi0 (691823) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887337)

Now the trail of causality between the killer and the killed is even more blurry...

Any Helicopters? (1)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887343)

Are there any remote controlled helicopters like this? It seems like they would be more handy for urban combat.

Re:Any Helicopters? (4, Informative)

icegreentea (974342) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887443)

yup. us navy has developed the mq-8 fire scout, and its not being used by bunch of branches of us forces. its designed to provide recon, and battlefield awareness to ground forces. im sure that there are others, but from what i remember, the marines and the army have tiny uavs (backpack size) that they can launch by throwing. they got little cameras on them, and can stream video. apparently the guys on the ground love this stuff.

Article fails to mention (1)

Pond823 (643768) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887357)

If these are point scoring units and if it can deep strike in Gamma missions.

I am a robot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19887363)

but I still piss, and when I do I short circuit. That'll be what halts this automated drone project: robot piss.

(Before you mod me troll or offtopic, remember who your daddy is)

someone beat me to the overlord comment (3, Funny)

Elsapotk421 (1097205) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887367)

It's a good way to risk lest pilot's lives but in reality how hard would it be to jam communications? I mean Lonestar could do it.

Re:someone beat me to the overlord comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19887463)

It talks to the operator via satellite. Satellites are located in a more-or-less up direction. The antenna is highly directional. To jam it, you'd need to put your jammer either extremely close, or in-line with the satellite. Good luck.

Re:someone beat me to the overlord comment (2, Informative)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887465)

Communication is done using MILSAT's ultra-high-frequency burst communications I'm assuming. Extremely hard to both jam and detect who is transmitting when the transmitting is done in hostile areas.

how to make friends (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19887369)

Someone in the US military has been reading "how to make
friends and influence people".

Re:how to make friends (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887411)

Someone in the US military has been reading "how to make
friends and influence people".


Yes, especially the "when you have them by the balls the hearts and minds soon follow..." part.

Someone explain this (1, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887393)

The Air Force is developing the ability to operate multiple aircraft from a single ground station, in effect, multiplying the overall combat effectiveness over the battlefield.
Does this mean they're trying to get one pilot to run multiple drones?

If so, one pilot per drone please.
Pilots are cheaper than ($17 mil) drones.
Pilots are also a lot cheaper than the fallout from any mistakes.

Re:Someone explain this (1)

Bluesman (104513) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887433)

"Multiplying combat effectiveness" is military jargon for "it works better than the previous way."

It's kind of like saying, "this is more proactive, and network-centric."

Re:Someone explain this (2, Insightful)

mr_musan (1075927) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887513)

>Pilots are also a lot cheaper than the fallout from any mistakes.

ha-ha fallout from mistakes ?? you mean the us armed forces are responsible for anything ? they don't even adhere to modern warfare practices and try and bully others into letting them out of the world criminal court.

Re:Someone explain this (1)

quanticle (843097) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887565)

Pilots are cheaper than ($17 mil) drones.

How do you figure that? Would you rather spend money training one pilot and have him or her run three or four drones, or spend money training three or four pilots to run three or four drones?

I get the comment about it being safer — having one pilot/drone certainly reduces the risk for error, but the comment about cost is pretty far off base.

Re:Someone explain this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19887585)

> Does this mean they're trying to get one pilot to run multiple drones?

Why not? A little AI to help avoid collisions, compensate for turbulence and keep formation would make it easy.

I really want to see 6ft wing span, low altitude models. Ones that get down to street level and blow the shit out of enemy combatants and political despots. If the US people elected to deploy them in DC and get the oil cartel out of office, there'd be no shortage of volunteers to remotely pilot the craft.

Re:Someone explain this (2, Funny)

zolf13 (941799) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887593)

Training a military pilot is not cheap.
1) Remove hard physical requirements for pilots 2) Hire Halo players 3) Profit!

Battlestar Galactica and Iraq (0, Offtopic)

seasunset (469481) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887423)

Battlestar Galactica (new series), initial episodes on season 3 about the fight of a human refugee camp against the Cylons and its connection to the Iraqi insurgents versus the American occupier is getting disturbingly more and more similar.

By the way there is long discussion here about Galactica and Iraq.... [blogspot.com]

Old dog, new tricks. (1, Informative)

delire (809063) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887425)

Continuing the Great American tradition [commondreams.org] of testing new weaponry on the battle-field. I wonder how many people will be unintenionally harmed in this experiment, this time.

It's no wonder most humans are terrified of America right now.. and that includes many Americans themselves: they might agree however, that it's better than testing on your own people [rationalrevolution.net] .

My assessment (3, Insightful)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887435)

The geek in me: Cool!
The human in me: Why the fuck do we have to spend so much money on killing each other?

Re:My assessment (1)

kingtonm (208158) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887483)

For the same reason that someone can mod you insightful and someone else can mod you as a troll.

Re:My assessment (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887639)

Finally, guilt free and risk free slaughter. Thanks DARPA!

It's also a psychological weapon. (5, Insightful)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887447)

I would guess that this would really put some terror into the enemy because their attacker can't die, while they can. They can't terrorize their attacker with roadside bombs or anything. They "kill" it, well, another one just rolls off the assembly line.

Re:It's also a psychological weapon. (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887533)

Yeah, they'll be forced to go back to just killing their own countrymen, just like they always do.

Re:It's also a psychological weapon. (1)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887613)

Yeah, they'll be forced to go back to just killing their own countrymen, just like they always do.

I know. It's pathetic - they get a chance to live free at the expense of fine American lives and what do they do? Bring up centuries old animosities and pick up where they left off. Makes me wonder if they (and the rest of us) are not better off with the despots.

Crazy wings (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887499)

I'm looking at pictures of this thing, and I have lots of questions:
1) Why is there what appears to be a cockpit?
2) Why is the prop on the back?
3) What is with the crazy tail wings and fins on the back? They seem to go in all directions.
4) Is that a camera in the front? Why is it not recessed for aerodynamics?

Now we know why China wants to build destroying missiles. You can take out the whole attack force by destroying the satellite network.

get some on the ground! (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887505)

How hard can it be to build miniature (footprint of wheelchair), remote-controlled tanks with a bunch of cameras all around it, lethal and nonlethal armaments, and a big booming microphone so it can bark orders?

We have been building wheeled robots for longer than we have been building flying robots. Put some on the ground and start saving lives!

In other news... (2, Funny)

AbbyNormal (216235) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887525)

Google has reported an unprecidented amount of queries for the search term "Sarah Conner" occured today.

Wholescale content thievery (1, Interesting)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887539)

Wow. Even for the Slashdot crowd that likes to run fast and loose with copyright, that cut-and-paste article summary was pretty bad.

It's not "fair use" to just fill a slashdot "story" with paragraphs from the story you're linking to. Give us an actual summary, a more informative/in depth article, or don't bother posting your submission at all.

Re:Wholescale content thievery (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887649)

Considering the guy who posted the summary is probably the guy who wrote the article, I doubt there will be an issue.

What are the moral implications? (3, Insightful)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887551)

We've been killing people with simple robots for years. Guided weapons, anyone? Fire and forget missiles, torpedoes, they're all simple robots that kill, it's just that they do so after a human pulls the trigger so they seem little different from bullets. Is there anything different about an operator a thousand miles away firing a drone's weapon or the drone engaging a target automatically? It feels different, though one could say that there's not much difference between that and a landmine going off.

I think the new Star Wars trilogy is massively disappointing so I hesitate to use the term "droid army" but that's still the best phrase I can come up with. What are the moral implications of operating a droid army? In conventional armies, a general who orders his soldiers to massacre civilians could meet with resistance. Even a Chinese Army tank driver balked at the idea of rolling over a protester in Tienanmen Square. Who is there to object in a droid army? The lowest level humans involved would be the support crew. Would they even know what the bots are up to?

I do think that the decision to go to war will become much easier with droids. What motivates objections to our current Iraq war, dead Americans or dead Iraqis? Would we object any less if it was 0 dead Americans instead of 4,000 and the Iraqi toll was still around 700k? I would like to think we wouldn't but people can be selfish.

Times like this I feel too Old (1)

Technopaladin (858154) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887553)

I mean now they gotta create a school for children to discover the next Ender. When will your children get their monitor?

Holy War (4, Funny)

jshriverWVU (810740) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887567)

I find it funny that people scoff at the war when the enemy calls it a "holy war" yet we bomb them with things called "hellfire".

*shakes head*

Controversial? (2, Insightful)

omeomi (675045) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887571)

It is the big brother to the highly successful and sometimes controversial Predator aircraft,

In what way is the Predator aircraft controversial?

Asimov was wrong (1)

javilon (99157) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887589)

Humanity won't get together and agree three laws of robotics. The first thing they do when they have enough technology is to turn robots into weapons.

Stephen Hawkins has been right all the way. We need to move to other planets. This way it will be more difficult to get rid of the whole human species.

General Atomics (2, Funny)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887625)

I can't believe there's a company called General Atomics - sounds like something out of a bad 1930/40/50's pulp SciFi book.

Re:General Atomics (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19887707)

1950's actually. It was the atomic energy division of General Dynamics and was spun off in 1955.

a plea to all americans (0, Flamebait)

mr_musan (1075927) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887713)

How can you guys be so blind this current usa government will bring down the world it really is starting to look WAAAAAAY! to much like all them 80's end of the world movies. Citizens freedoms restricted, more and more data being gathered on each person, near complete control of the media and now robotic death machines!

To all citizens of the United States of America please stop this before it really gets out of hand! and to every one else on them land masses please don't let your governments follow suit.

I beg you as a lover of freedom, love and life stop this before we end up in on of your apocolictic movies.

Sarah Conner was right (1)

mibalzonya (1072126) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887723)

Everybody Panic! Oh Nooz.

Those things look slow (3, Interesting)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#19887729)

Straight wings, turboprop engine. Wonder how well they'll do against a good shoulder-fired SAM.

-b.
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