Afghanistan - Testing grounds for killer robots

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Offline Wrexsoul

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Afghanistan - Testing grounds for killer robots
« on: January 21, 2010, 09:14:25 PM »
http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-the-age-of-the-killer-robot-is-no-longer-a-scifi-fantasy-1875220.html

Coming from a mainstream media source, even....

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When the US invaded Iraq in 2003, they had no robots as part of their force. By the end of 2005, they had 2,400. Today, they have 12,000, carrying out 33,000 missions a year. A report by the US Joint Forces Command says autonomous robots will be the norm on the battlefield within 20 years.

The Nato forces now depend on a range of killer robots, largely designed by the British Ministry of Defence labs privatised by Tony Blair in 2001. Every time you hear about a "drone attack" against Afghanistan or Pakistan, that's an unmanned robot dropping bombs on human beings. Push a button and it flies away, kills, and comes home. Its robot-cousin on the battlefields below is called SWORDS: a human-sized robot that can see 360 degrees around it and fire its machine-guns at any target it "chooses". Fox News proudly calls it "the GI of the 21st century." And billions are being spent on the next generation of warbots, which will leave these models looking like the bulky box on which you used to play Pong.

At the moment, most are controlled by a soldier often 7,500 miles away with a control panel. But insurgents are always inventing new ways to block the signal from the control centre, which causes the robot to shut down and "die". So the military is building "autonomy" into the robots: if they lose contact, they start to make their own decisions, in line with a pre-determined code.

This is just going to make brutal repression easier. No feelings, no inhibitions or distinction between civilian or combatant.

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There is some evidence that warbots will also make us less inhibited in our killing. When another human being is standing in front of you, when you can stare into their eyes, it's hard to kill them. When they are half the world away and little more than an avatar, it's easy. A young air force lieutenant who fought through a warbot told Singer: "It's like a video game [with] the ability to kill. It's like ... freaking cool."

When the US First Marine Expeditionary Force in Iraq was asked in 2006 what kind of robotic support it needed, they said they had an "urgent operational need" for a laser mounted on to an unmanned drone that could cause "instantaneous burst-combustion of insurgent clothing, a rapid death through violent trauma, and more probably a morbid combination of both". The request said it should be like "long-range blow torches or precision flame-throwers". They wanted to do with robots things they would find almost unthinkable face-to-face.

~ All hail BB

Offline lee51

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Re: Afghanistan - Testing grounds for killer robots
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2010, 09:21:40 PM »
Yep, all those computer "games" coming to real live.  >:(