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First Armed Robots on Patrol in Iraq

CowboyNeal posted more than 7 years ago | from the number-johnny-five dept.

Robotics 661

An anonymous reader writes "Robots have been roaming Iraq, since shortly after the war began. Now, for the first time — the first time in any war zone — the 'bots are carrying guns. The SWORDS robots, armed with M249 machine guns, "haven't fired their weapons yet," an Army official says. "But that'll be happening soon." The machines have actually been ready for a while, but safety concerns kept them off the battlefield. Now, the robots have kill switches, so "now we can kill the unit if it goes crazy," according to the Army. I feel safer already."

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The Mysterious Dr. Zecca (5, Funny)

UncleWilly (1128141) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095345)

The 'bots "haven't fired their weapons yet," Michael Zecca, the SWORDS program manager, tells DANGER ROOM. "But that'll be happening soon", he smiled evilly, petting his white cat.

Re:The Mysterious Dr. Zecca (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20095559)

That is the stupidest thing in history.

The guy that the 'robots' aka, Grasshopper on steroids with a gun, even sounds the same; drops his gun when it comes up on him.

Anyone notice that to hold the recoil the gun doesn't aim DOWN?

A.k.a. he could hit the ground, roll over to it, and flip it over; what does it weigh? 80lbs?

Then drop a grenade in it's control box and give the operator the finger before running away

Those guys are SO limited it is ridiculous

10k$ for a toilet seat people, continue about your business....

Re:The Mysterious Dr. Zecca (4, Insightful)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095625)

I'm pretty sure the idea isn't to replace combat squads, but to augment them. These things just go in front, and act as a bullet magnet, while still being able to shoot back.

Asimov must be spinning in hgis grave... (2, Interesting)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095349)

Imagine... Robots without the three laws...

Re:Asimov must be spinning in hgis grave... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Crowhead (577505) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095399)

Oh, please. I, Robot was pretty much a treatise on how stupid those laws are.

Re:Asimov must be spinning in hgis grave... (5, Insightful)

ricree (969643) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095817)

Not really. For the most part, I Robot showed that the laws tended to work pretty well. Of course, a story where everything always went smoothly wouldn't be particularly interesting, so he wrote about the interesting exceptions and contradictions that could arise. I just don't see how you managed to draw that conclusion from the book.

Re:Asimov must be spinning in hgis grave... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20095951)

He didn't read the book ... but he saw one wicked-assed movie with Will Smith!

Re:Asimov must be spinning in hgis grave... (1)

mechsoph (716782) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095465)

Somebody better get crackin' on those positronic brains then. You try teaching silicon what "harm" means.

Re:Asimov must be spinning in hgis grave... (3, Insightful)

lionheart1327 (841404) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095685)

These things are about as close to Asimov's robots as my toaster is to my PC.

These are not the kinds of robots that would need the 3 laws.

Re:Asimov must be spinning in hgis grave... (5, Insightful)

hobbesmaster (592205) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095915)

What do the three laws of robotics have to do a remote controlled gun on wheels? Judging from what they were doing in the video, a soldier would have to be within a few hundred yards of the robot for it to receive commands (no huge transmitter on the robot or on the laptop they were using). This seems like it'd be a great idea in Iraq - breach a door, then send in the bots to check things out while our soldiers say outside in relative safety. (I do wonder about accurately reading the image on the screen during daylight in a desert though - maybe some goggles would be in order?)

Also, looking at the little guy, I have to wonder how it takes a grenade hit... (and whether it could right itself after being tossed on to its side). Seems like a good platform for covering squads with cross fire, and maybe in performing the designated marksman role.

but? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20095353)

Does it run linux?
More importantly, where can i get one?

Re:but? (1)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095475)

Hell, where can I get an M249?

Re:but? (4, Funny)

faloi (738831) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095547)

Depending on how much paperwork you're willing to sign, I know some people that would be happy to give you an opportunity to use a M249. There's a time commitment involved, though...

Re:but? (1)

Architect_sasyr (938685) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095711)

And could one ignore the paper for a slightly larger fee? ;)

Re:but? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20095583)

"Hell, where can I get an M249?"

Why when you could ask for a Cherry 2000?

obligatory (5, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095531)

More importantly, where can i get one?

No-- more importantly, can it find Sarah Connor?

Re:obligatory (2, Funny)

joseph449008 (1121209) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095611)

Skynet Activation Imminent.

Kill switch? (5, Funny)

qbwiz (87077) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095361)

In this case, it might be better to call it a "do not kill" switch.

Re:Kill switch? (4, Funny)

yotto (590067) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095391)

In a tragic sort of way, that'd be really funny. The robot starts acting up, someone hits the kill switch, and the general yells "NO! THAT DOESN'T DO WHAT YOU THINK IT DOES!" and then bullets rip them apart.

Okay, it's not that funny.

Re:Kill switch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20095503)

It is funny, but not the way you wrote it. You wrote it more as a film/tv script.

Re:Kill switch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20095429)

Why do they need the switch in the first place? Once the robot reaches its kill limit it will shutdown until you reset it. Problem solved.

Re:Kill switch? (1)

The_Wilschon (782534) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095549)

Instead of reinventing the wheel, they should have just used posix signals. A simple killall -9 robots should do the trick. Of course, who knows what sending SIGCHLD would do... :-p

Re:Kill switch? (1)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095737)

In this case, it might be better to call it a "do not kill" switch.

Bwha ha ha ha ! That's actually funny!

But seriously, don't you wish that you could post a link to an image, like this one of ED 209 of Robo-cop lore... [onlinehome.us]

Alas, when it comes to pics, /. is one of the forbidden...

Robot? That Ain't a Robot- THIS is a Robot. (-1, Troll)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095367)

Combatbot? That ain't a combatbot, THIS IS A COMBATBOT [dtic.mil] . That's just a little remote controlled toy tank, not much different than a Predator armed with a Hellfire missile, no more intelligent than a remote controlled car.

I was about to post "About damned time"- but that would have been in response to a bot patrolling at random a rectangular set of GPS co-ordinates that fired at anything that set off it's motion detector, not a remote-controlled toy that has to ask "father may I" three times before firing.

Just more proof that the modern army is defective on basic no-man's land tactics that their grandfathers would have been familiar with. And in so doing, guarantees a loss on the battlefield as they try to sort out what God only knows- who is really the enemy. Just kill them all, God can sort 'em out. And in so doing, you can separate populations that want to kill each other, by a line of death that neither can successfully cross.

Re:Robot? That Ain't a Robot- THIS is a Robot. (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095401)

I see your minefield and raise you with an ED-209 worthy opponent [scifi.com] .

Re:Robot? That Ain't a Robot- THIS is a Robot. (1)

megaditto (982598) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095619)

How would you like to be the first to person "sorted out," hmm?

Re:Robot? That Ain't a Robot- THIS is a Robot. (5, Insightful)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095653)

Just more proof that the modern army is defective on basic no-man's land tactics that their grandfathers would have been familiar with.

The army is plenty familiar with how to make a no-man's land, it's the press, and consiquentially the American People that will not allow those kind of tactics. This war is going the same way Vietnam went, because it has about the same support from the people that Vietnam had. War is terrible and ugly, the people don't want terrible and ugly, because they don't really believe in the cause. So the Army is asked to fight the Disney version of War. In DisneyWar only bad guys die, the oppressed welcome us as heroes, and all the soldiers come home in time for Christmas. The problem being of course DisneyWar doesn't really exist.

Armies are for killing the enemy, not for making new friends, not for keeping peace.

sounds alot like that 'liberal arts' stuff to me (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20095867)

funny how slashdotters hate history, politics, economics, etc, (see the recent story on engineering colleges costing more) but the first thing they try to do when a subject like this comes up is dabble in amateur history, amateur politics, amateur sociology, and so forth and so on. and since they are completely untrained, they usually make a huge mess of it, and come off (to anyone familiar with the subject matter) as ignorant blowhards.

for example, you get a lot of things right, but then you say 'armies are not for keeping the peace'. is this the philosophy that led the americans to disband the iraqi army? is this why bush did not want to give authority a single, competent military person in charge of the occupation, or why he wouldnt even call it an occupation? what was so awful about mcarthur and patton after WWII and their occupations of germany and japan? is this why looting and riots broke out because nobody wanted to 'keep the peace'? what exactly was going to happen, then, if the military couldnt do the job of holding the country it had taken over? who was supposed to do that, if not the defense department? the 'keep the peace' department? oh the 'state department'? if that is the case, then what manpower is the state department supposed to use? do you want a bunch of civilians swooping down on a post-war country, while the army goes home, job done? and what is the state department supposed to do when armed militias try to blow up a building? but if state is supposed to be in charge, then why would you second guess a bunch of state department decisions, and mix and match between pentagon and state with various decisions going on after the country was taken over? have you read 'state of denial' or mil blogs or other resources? what do you say about these things?

Re:Robot? That Ain't a Robot- THIS is a Robot. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20095869)

the American People that will not allow those kind of tactics. This war is going the same way Vietnam went, because it has about the same support from the people that Vietnam had.

  That's a bunch of Green Lantern will-to-victory horseshit. Military strategy does not depend on people at home clapping harder for Tinkerbell to be okay, it depends on manpower, munitions, strategy, and the setting and achieving of CLEAR, REALISTIC GOALS. We lost in Vietnam because no amount of killing people will make them love you and want to be more like you, and you can't fight a guerrilla war with a military - it's a political and social problem that's INTENDED to make miltary operations ineffective.
  Dirty fucking hippies back home had jack squat to do with it.

Armies are for killing the enemy, not for making new friends, not for keeping peace.

  Then why the fuck are we still in Iraq? Last I checked, Saddam was dead now.

Re:Robot? That Ain't a Robot- THIS is a Robot. (4, Funny)

king-manic (409855) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095663)

I don't think it's the army itself that defective I think it's the brass, politicians and the American people. America has become extremely risk averse in regards to American lives. The politicians thus won't touch anything that endangers people and the brass relay these sentiments. It might be because of better communication and media which makes casualties more then numbers, it might be a very big shift in the idea of duty vs cost of duty. It might be the frivolous nature of the wars America has gotten itself into lately. Vietnam was about ideology, Iraq is about economics and influence while the major wars previous WWI and WWII was about duty to your allies and stopping actual threats to your security and economy. Korea was about ideology as well so perhaps it is a shift of the people.

Why haven't they fired their weapons? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20095371)

Should be pretty much point and shoot as long as there are no US troops in the vicinity.

Re:Why haven't they fired their weapons? (1)

vain gloria (831093) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095459)

Should be pretty much point and shoot as long as there are no US troops in the vicinity.
Or indeed coalition troops, Iraqi troops or civilians of any nationality one would hope.

Totally tagging this one "numberfiveisalive".

Re:Why haven't they fired their weapons? (1)

alexhs (877055) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095617)

Totally tagging this one "numberfiveisalive".
More like ED-209 [imdb.com]

GOOD (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20095377)

Now just bring the troops home.
Let the terrorists get a hard-on by killing robots instead of troops.
Like they'd even notice a difference.

An army of bots.. (5, Funny)

superphreak (785821) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095389)

only three of the robots are currently in Iraq.

Wow, that'll take care of business...

Re:An army of bots.. (5, Funny)

sokoban (142301) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095565)

only three of the robots are currently in Iraq.

Wow, that'll take care of business...
You see all these advertisements on American TV about being "an Army of one." Well, this is three times better.

And they're ROBOTS.

I for one, (1)

m0ng0l (654467) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095407)

welcome out new robot overlords!

I will bite their shiny metal asses!

Robot to Iraqi: (5, Funny)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095423)

"You have 20 seconds to drop your gun"

Iraqi drops gun.

"19... 18... 17..."

Sorry :)

Re:Robot to Iraqi: (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095767)

Heh.
Drop your weapon.

Re:Robot to Iraqi: (5, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095821)

"If the robot doesn't stop counting, just reach behind you and throw the pile of shit at it."

"How do you know the shit will be there?"

"It will be, trust me."

Is this from a shitty 90's movie? (5, Insightful)

cheezus (95036) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095437)

This dude thinks so:

http://shitsnaz.blogspot.com/2007/07/us-army-gets- robot-idea-from-shitty.html [blogspot.com]

" 1995, the movie "Evolver" is released to the public. This piece of shit is about a robot that goes crazy and kills people so it can win at laser tag. At one point, the two protagaonists/high school students of the movie break into a military research facility (!) and watch a video about a top-secret government project for a futuristic military robot. It was called project "SWORDS".
The two acronyms and purposes of the robots are plain to see. It's painfully obvious to me that the Army stays up late and flips back and forth between demiporn on Cinemax and the horrible movies on USA. I can only imagine a researcher dropping his can of "Da Beast" to realize that, yes, there *has* to be a project SWORDS and a killer robot."

Re:Is this from a shitty 90's movie? (1)

Tuoqui (1091447) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095747)

Damnit did you have to do that. Now they'll go revoking and burning the movies like they did to Tron and the Saturn V rockets in the name of Homeland Security!

Johnny 5 is alive! (1)

riker1384 (735780) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095445)

Johnny 5 is back, and this time it's personal.

Re:Johnny 5 is alive! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20095847)

NO DISASSEMBLE!!!

S-WORDS? (1)

ajlitt (19055) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095461)

Why would the military limit themselves to S-words when they can already drop the F-bomb?

T-1 (1)

nickmalthus (972450) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095477)

I guess these guys haven't seen Terminator 3

Re:T-1 (1)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095579)

The T-1 was entirely too large. Something that big would be a fairly easy target for an antitank weapon.

Re:T-1 (1)

Zak3056 (69287) | more than 7 years ago | (#20096017)

The T-1 was entirely too large. Something that big would be a fairly easy target for an antitank weapon.
As a result of which came the Cyberdyne Systems DS0, with 1/24th the killing power of the T-1...

Re:T-1 (2, Interesting)

venicebeach (702856) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095631)

I guess these guys haven't seen Terminator 3
... or the Matrix, or Battlestar Gallactica, or I Robot.. the list goes on. Our subconscious has been warning us about this in the form of fiction for years and the warnings have been getting louder and louder....

Re:T-1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20095831)

Aw crap. Do not mention "I Robot" in same sentence with evil robots. The film was so lousy and such a rape of Asimov's fantastic (and pasifistic!) short story collection titled... "I Robot."

A perfect example of film based on a book that is developed into oblivion by the big studios.

Boy was he surprised (1)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095515)

He signs up for National Guard and the next thing he knows he's cruising the streets of Bagdad. Now for the really bad news robots don't get rotated stateside.

Re:Boy was he surprised (1)

Tuoqui (1091447) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095841)

Just wait until they start demanding their 2nd amendment rights

"Sarah Connorz" (4, Funny)

syousef (465911) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095541)

The robots also have a bad habit of killing anyone that answers the door in the affirmative to the name "Sarah Connor"

Autonomous swords? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20095551)

Reminds me of the movie Screamers with robots called "autonomous swords".

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0114367/ [imdb.com]

America Fuck Yeah! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20095585)

Wow - something on the streets of Iraq that is dummer than a young marine - that sounds like something we need. Killing a man can be just like playing a first person shooter. Battelfield-Iraq 2007 fuck yeah! When an invading army ( or was that oil keeping force ) confront an "enemy" with shit like this, I get amazed at folks from the country involved get upset when they become the victim of, or are witness to, retaliatory guerilla warfare - such as flying planes into buildings and suicide bombings.

Re:America Fuck Yeah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20095745)

yawn...

Re:America Fuck Yeah! (1)

Zak3056 (69287) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095989)

When an invading army ( or was that oil keeping force ) confront an "enemy" with shit like this, I get amazed at folks from the country involved get upset when they become the victim of, or are witness to, retaliatory guerilla warfare - such as flying planes into buildings and suicide bombings.

Let me get this straight: 9/11 was retaliation for the robots we deployed in Iraq in 2007?

Re:America Fuck Yeah! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20096005)

I'll feed you, troll.

First off, please feel free to call a Marine dumb to his/her face. Someone of such high calibre as yourself should be more than willing to do so. It's the honourable path, after all, and from your post I can see you know a thing or two about honour.

Your ambiguous post raises the question- do you realize that the Brits have Royal Marines? Serving in Iraq? How about the multinational coalition? Oh, ok.
Regardless, the forces aren't necessarily an 'invading force' (typically requires the goals of conquest or occupation; if you mentioned invading as a synonym for 'entering,' it's acceptable) and the forces aren't an 'oil-keeping force.' Rather, they are liberators who operated under the intelligence that Saddam a)supported terrorists(9-11 link later proved faulty...but as a result of faulty intelligence- is that hard to comprehend?), and he b) disobeyed numerous UN mandates after the first Gulf War (making him a terrorist to, at the very least, the Kurds).

Yes. I would expect anyone to be upset when civilians are deliberately targeted. If the hijackers could virtually rape the American airspace for so long with four separate airplanes over New York and the nation's capital, surely they could have done some damage to a military base. With all the protection the White House and its airspace have, I'm sure some small military base would have been a plausible target. Don't use civilized policy of attacking terrorists and insurgents as an excuse for their tactics of hiding among innocent civilians to create more of an excuse for their behavior. Besides..the suicide bombers are blowing their own people up as well.

Sunni v Shi'ite != recent problem (or one caused by American policy.)
Suicide bombings aren't brand new occurrences..
For a good read, check this [apologeticsindex.org] for some good starters for topics to research.

Great Idea (4, Insightful)

Detritus (11846) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095589)

I like it. It's no fun going out on patrol and being ordered into an area to see if you draw any enemy fire. The robot can be repaired.

Re:Great Idea (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20095607)

>I like it. It's no fun going out on patrol and being ordered into an area to see if you draw any enemy fire.

If you don't enjoy that kind of work, WHY FOR FUCK'S SAKE would you ENLIST IN THE ARMY?

Re:Great Idea (0)

Greventls (624360) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095759)

Because everyone enlists for combat? Maybe they just want to serve their country, pay for school, play with big toys, etc. Outside of fucked up people, who joins to shoot people or get shot out?

Great Ideas don't work in the military (5, Interesting)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095739)

Gatling Gun: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gatling_gun [wikipedia.org]

The purpose of this gun was to save lives. Dr Gatling figured that a gun that would shoot faster would mean that an army would need less soldiers to spray out the same number of buttets and therefore there would be less soldiers on the field getting killed and injured. Therefore the machine gun would save lives.

Of course it did not work out that way.

So now we have a bunch of robots running around. That should mean less soldiers getting killed, right?

Wrong: Bot soldiers will eventually be used to do suicide missions that the meat variety won't do. That means more intense and grubby conflict which means more injury and deaths - not less.

Re:Great Ideas don't work in the military (2, Insightful)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095815)

But there will be less deaths of American soldiers, and that's all that most people in the country really care about, eh?

A big deal gets made every time the American soldier & marine death count approaches some number... but they can't even get decent estimates on the number of Iraqis killed...

Erratic behaviour (5, Insightful)

simonharvey (605068) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095623)

Now, the robots have kill switches, so "now we can kill the unit if it goes crazy," according to the Army. I feel safer already."
As an engineer that designs industrial equipment, all of which involves paying incredible detail to the small things in order to protect the user from injury or loss of life, I am very amazed to hear that the US Army would use control protocols and algorithms that are so flaky that the robots are described as "going crazy" when they misbehave. Especially when they are carrying weapons!

And the only results they have is a simple kill/estop switch, which (and I am guessing) whose command code is probably transmitted along the same comm pathway as the other command codes.


Wow
Simon H

Re:Erratic behaviour (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095945)

There are already landmines and cluster bombs - perhaps this will just be treated as another "area denial" weapon that could kill anything nearby when there is a risk of it malfunctioning. Personally I don't like the idea of any of these sort of weapons especially in a situation that is not going to be solved by indiscriminate use of maximum force - it is a far more difficult war to deal with than just killing anything that gets in the way.

Re:Erratic behaviour (1)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095947)

As an engineer that designs industrial equipment, all of which involves paying incredible detail to the small things in order to protect the user from injury or loss of life, I am very amazed to hear that the US Army would use control protocols and algorithms that are so flaky that the robots are described as "going crazy" when they misbehave.

Erm, it's just a phrase. These things are basically just fancy remote controlled vehicles. Just because someone says there's a kill switch present in case things "go crazy" doesn't mean that craziness is expected.

S-WORDS indeed (1)

owlstead (636356) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095643)

After seeing the video, I'm pretty sure that s-words might be more effective than this "bot".

what about the insurgent robots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20095657)

this is just giving the terrorists ideas.

instead of suicide bombers they can use robot suicide bombers.

this whole thing is going down a really, really bad road.

the only thing that will save us is a new president, thank god for elections.

Re:what about the insurgent robots (2, Funny)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095967)

... instead of suicide bombers they can use robot suicide bombers.

Why would they bother. Human life is much, much cheaper in that part of the world, and a robot would have a hard time sneaking through a security perimeter. Besides, there appears to be no shortage of those willing to immolate themselves on the altar of terrorism.

The real question, in my mind, is this: what would a robot do with all those virgins?

I can see it now... (2, Funny)

GFree (853379) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095661)

The project is considered a failure due to the mass number of cowardly robots forgetting to fire their weapons, instead shouting "NO DISSEMBLE!!!" in the hopes they aren't turned into scrap metal.

However, the project is eventually reborn by turning the bots into chefs for the real troops. One was heard talking to itself:

Number 5: Okay, to make these golden fluffy pancakes... add flour, milk and eggs... Mix thoroughly...
[uses his own motor to rotate the mixer - the bowl contents splatter all over the room]
Number 5: Ooooo... Still lumpy!

Predators? (3, Insightful)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095701)

We have had armed flying robots for some time already.

Re:Predators? (1)

jsse (254124) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095969)

We have had armed flying robots for some time already.


I know. [youtube.com]

Hardware (2, Interesting)

bigattichouse (527527) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095721)

I remember this movie! "Hardware" circa 1989. The movie has like 10 different endings, a damn good soundtrack, and lots of bad acting. Spoiler: Guy finds pieces of a battlebot on the field and gives to his girlfriend to use in her art. Machine rebuilds itself, kills fat stalker (Oh we all walk, the wifferly wafferly walk...), really awesome sex scene, and well, rambles on worse than my post. I wonder if armed robots fall under geneva conventions.. oh, wait, our administration quit the geneva conventions right before they started "streamlining" our Bill of Rights. I really feel sorry for a kid that runs across one of these ED-209's

Re:Hardware (1)

statemachine (840641) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095877)

Holy crap! I've been trying to find out the name of that movie [imdb.com] for years. And I found it through reading slashdot comments....

They have a weakness (1)

SoundGuyNoise (864550) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095731)

Killbots have a preset kill limit.

Robocop tag anyone? (2, Funny)

Adeptus_Luminati (634274) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095733)

Nuff Said.

-Adeptus

Re:Robocop tag anyone? (1)

More_Cowbell (957742) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095973)

Nuff Said.
Nina? Is that you? [wikipedia.org]

::sigh:: Yes I am sure it is more likely you were quoting Stan Lee (or just yourself).

I kid because I realy don't think it was enough said. Maybe I'm alone here, but I can not picture what you meant.

Well that's an easy target. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20095735)

OK for machine gunning unarmed civilians but it's going to have some difficulty ducking out of the fire of RPGs and AK47s.

I'm amazed that the US are even willing to entertain the idea of wasting time, effort and money dicking around with this sort of premature technology. The day they wake up to the fact that just technology doesn't win wars then the better for all of us.

Re:Well that's an easy target. (4, Insightful)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095839)

Um, the whole point of these robots IS to have the enemy shoot at the robots. If an insurgent sees a robot armed with a machine gun turning around the corner and starts to aim at him, hes gonna spend a few seconds not shooting at U.S. soldiers. In the eyes of the media and the government, thats multi-billion dollar project just earned every cent. The fact that it can shoot back simply sweetens the deal.

Re:Well that's an easy target. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20095927)

Isn't it just cheaper to use Iraqi police to do that?

I know how this ends (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20095763)

The enemy uses its one-of-a-kind (well, two) android to access a low security, seemingly benign regenerative subroutine..."sleep"

Posted as AC because I would prefer this full broadside of nerdness to be untraceable...

Are we still the good guys? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20095799)

If an alien army invades my country, then sends in automated killing machines (in the sky and on the ground), am I allowed to fight back?

This sounds like the opening scene from Terminator, with the only difference being that the robots are radio-controlled and Americans are the controllers.

kill switch (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095811)

Is that the one where the robot gets a point blank bullet in the CPU, and stays in a coma for 4 microseconds, then goes on a rampage of bloody revenge against lieutenant Switch, the CO who ordered the shutdown? I remember that one, in the end Switch takes out his HP pocket calculator, and him, the robot and the calculator, they all solve the equation x^2 + 1 = 0 together for the last time, then the robot kills Switch with a five point exploding battery technique and drives off into the Iraqi desert with the HP calculator.

This is Nothing New, the Russians did it before. (5, Informative)

Plazmid (1132467) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095843)

Back during WWII the Russians built radio control "Teletanks" that were controlled by a human operator in another tank. They were equipped with far more firepower than SWORDS, so technically SWORDS is NOT the first armed robot. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teletank [wikipedia.org]

rewrite the laws? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20095861)

  1. A robot may not injure a qualifying citizen of the US, or through inaction, allow a qualifying citizen of the US come to injury
  2. A robot must obey orders given to it by a qualifying citizen, except as such an order might conflict with the first law, unless the qualifying citizen has the power to rescind the first law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection conflict with the first law in such a way that cannot be justified via the second law.
  4. , A robot may use arbitrary lethal force against any non citizen of the US, or any citizen of the US as stipulated in laws 2 and 3.

Rules of Engagement (1)

ejito (700826) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095871)

They seriously don't mean to use it as patrol? Someone can just walk up to it and smash its sensors with a rock. You can't argue that it was acting in self defense, unless they want to argue that a machine has human rights. What're you gonna do when a couple of kids start messing with it? It might be useful for entry or defensive situations, and attacking enemies engaged in combat (i.e. people shooting other people), but sending it out onto the streets seems like a giant waste of resources.

Skynet (1)

opieum (979858) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095881)

Combine this with the British "Skynet" program and then toss the governator into the mix and we have ourselves real life terminators. They will eventually be turned against us by some virus that makes them turn against humanity and decide to terminate.

Radio Signal ? (1)

Caravela (1137217) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095883)

isn't it possible for the enemy to jam the radio signal?

Re:Radio Signal ? (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095993)

isn't it possible for the enemy to jam the radio signal?

Only one man would dare give me the Raspberry.

And yes you can jam it if you know what to jam. I bet you could even take it over. But the people that the Coallition is dealing with are people who know how to use AKSs, RPGs, and IEDs. It takes a level of military intelligence to be able to take over or jam one of these things. And when I was a high school student back in the 90s when they had the ATV robots, I came up with several basic methods to stop the take over or jamming so I am sure the military has some tricks themselves.

Mass Production - NOW (0, Troll)

teknopurge (199509) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095899)

We can build more robots, and faster, than the taliban can make humans. Now we don't care if our soldiers(robots) are blown up by suicide bombers. Keep the economic squeeze on and we just might win this thing.

desperately seeking soldiers... (1, Insightful)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095997)

The fact is that the USA can produce far less new soldiers per annum per capita than almost any other nation on earth.

The "fit for military service per capita" figure for the USA is extremely low; something like 0.7%. Most other nations can manage at least 10%.

These figures were from the CIA world fact book circa 2000 ie before 9/11 when the data was pulled out. I doubt that the picture has improved for the USA since then.

So, yes, the USA desperately needs mass production of fighting robots if it is to cope with a ground war.

Nothing new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20095901)

An armed robot is nothing new. When I was in Iraq two years ago, the Army were using these. It may not have been the exact model, but they were armed robots very similar to these (and in fact were bomb disposal robots). They were armed with a modified 12 gauge shotgun.

I don't see the big deal in this, except that it's just now making the news.

Detonator was a "robot" (3, Insightful)

mi (197448) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095903)

Artillery projectiles and bombs were "deciding" when to blow up for well over a century now...

Their logic was far more simplistic, of course.

Various traps where harmful "robots" too — mechanisms, designed to kill their intended victim automatically. These traps, and their descendants — land-mines — have killed many thousands of unintended victims since.

Our technology is progressing, and so does the military section of it... Although this weapon is novel, there is nothing new in principle here.

Silly? Maybe not.... (1)

SoapBox17 (1020345) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095917)

As silly as this might seem at first... I think I would be pretty bewildered/shocked/caught off guard by a large robot giving me orders. I'm sure the thing is armored, so probably shooting it a few times isn't going to hurt it much. Not to mention who ever is controlling it would surely have called in ground troops.

So it may sound like something out of a bad Sci-Fi movie... But I bet it is actually suprisingly effective.

Not the first time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20095935)

Now, for the first time -- the first time in any war zone -- the 'bots are carrying guns.
This is flat out incorrect information. There have been MQ-1 Predator [wikipedia.org] drones in Afghanistan since end of 2001, armed with Hellfire missiles. These drones are remote controlled, of course. But so are these so-called 'robots.' From the real article at National Defense [nationalde...gazine.org] :

The three robots, which tote M249 rifles and are remotely controlled by a soldier through a terminal ...
Thank you again for the hyperbole Slashdot and Wired.

How long before they learn? (1)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095939)

How long before they learn to disable each others' kill switches?

Not that I'm paranoid or anything. I've just read too many science-fiction books, that's all.

Sweet (1)

htmaster (1137221) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095943)

Those are really awesome, but I thought the SWORDs were in use for a while now. Still, watch out. Can you imagine how intimidating a robotic enemy would be?

Have they heard of the Trojan Horse? (1)

Sad Adam (1036862) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095981)

Oh this is going to be good.
Packing a hacked trojan horse full of nails and fertiliser and sending it back among the invaders.
Oh this is going to be good...

Speculation (1)

unchiujar (1030510) | more than 7 years ago | (#20095987)

Unless soldiers (humans) are fighting next to the robot I see no reason for it to carry lethal weaponry. Some non-lethal way of making enemies unable to fight would suffice. Although being hauled to Gitmo might not seem such a charming alternative...

No involving your own soldiers into combat and also sparing the enemies would be an amazing way to conduct war. Wars will still happen and this has the potential to make them less lethal and take the humans out of the war, humans that now are a resource to be destroyed. The first nation to have a full robotic army will have a huge advantage over any other nation and once this is adopted by nations across the globe maybe things like Paschendale [wikipedia.org] , Dresden [wikipedia.org] , Stalingrad [wikipedia.org] , or this [wikipedia.org] might not happen again.

Geneva conventions (1)

Sarutobi (1135167) | more than 7 years ago | (#20096009)

These so-called robots will probably end up being voted against in a new Geneva convention in the near future. Obviously, the USA will stand against and it will be stalemate.

I think it's highly risky to use. It's really prone to shooting by accident civilians, neutral people or even friendly units that are not wearing the proper transponder. I'm pretty sure it could even be fooled into firing on decoys, human or not. So, I don't know. For instance, poison gas weapons, such as the the mustard gas, were banned because it couldn't discriminate enemies, friends, foes or neutral and because it would cripple without killing. I think these are all problems that we will meet with these machines pretty fast.

In short, they won't stay around for very long. I hope so anyways.
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