Sunday, March 06, 2005

Here comes the Robot Army

There is an interesting trend of military technology of late: The development and deployment of a robot army.

"Late last week, in a parking lot in New Jersey, the U.S. Army unveiled what may be the future of war: 3-foot-tall robotic “soldiers,” outfitted with tank tracks, night vision and mounted automatic weapons capable of firing more than 300 rounds at a burst. Known as SWORDS (Special Weapons Observation Reconnaissance Detection Systems), these battle bots are on the leading edge of a new kind of warfare, in which — or so the argument goes — our troops will one day remain hidden (and, presumably, protected) while engaging the enemy by remote control. The Army intends to deploy 18 SWORDS units to Iraq in the spring, marking the first time robots have been used to fight and kill human beings one on one." -GNN "When Robots Do The Killing"

"Gun-slinging robots headed for Iraq duty"

Coming Soon: Robots with Guns

When Robots Do The Killing - Common Dreams

Pentagon Prepares To Build
$130bn Robot Army

The Robot Army of the Future

What happens when an oligarchy controls a globally-deployable robot strike team with air drones equipped with missiles and robot infantry with guns and rocket launchers, all networked via sattelite with night, infrared, facial recognition, spacial recognition optical technologies.

Who is to say that anyone is safe? Or has any ounce of privacy? In the globe.

And, just in case your favorite organized rebellion does happen to be armed with conventional weapons, rest assured your friendly robot government is armed with something much more effective:

"The US military is developing a new “plasma weapon” designed to inflict non-lethal but excruciating pain from long distances. The weapon is being designed with rioters/demonstrators in mind, and seems to be the logical extension of the mentality that relegates all public expressions of dissent to free-speech cages. I also wonder whether its development is any indication of the government’s expectation of more widespread dissent in the near future." --GNN, Plasma pain weapon

"Scientists have reacted angrily to the revelation that the US military is funding development of a weapon intended to deliver an "excrutiating bout of pain" from over a mile away. The "Pulsed Energy Projectile" (PEP) device "fires a laser pulse that generates a burst of expanding plasma when it hits something solid", the New Scientist explains. If you happen to be that something solid, then you get temporarily incapacitated without suffering permanent injury.

That's the theory, but pain reasearchers fear that the proposed riot control weapon could be used for torture, and further doubt a solid ethical basis for the research. Andrew Rice, a consultant in pain medicine at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London, said: "Even if the use of temporary severe pain can be justified as a restraining measure, which I do not believe it can, the long-term physical and psychological effects are unknown."" --The Register, Scientists slam US plasma weapon

As one poster posts:
"Posted Dec 1, 2004, 9:54 PM ET by Ken Zemach

As a guy who just got back from 19 months in Afghanistan and Iraq supporting at least 10 different robotic platforms, I can categorically say that weapons on ground based robots is the stupidest idea on the planet. Scenario: 1. Marines roll into Falujia (again) and send a robot with a machine gun down the street "to protect soldiers." 2. Man in window down street starts video taping. 3. Man sends 8 year old boy (or girl) down to beat the crap out of the robot with a baseball bat. We end up with either: 4a. Soldier decides not to gun down 8 year old boy, and boy destroys $500k robot and then man comes down and takes machine gun or 4b. Soldier guns down boy with robot, video to air on Al Jazeera at 6pm.

A lethally armed, expensive robotic platform with secure military communications equipment that can be disabled by a 70 year old woman who walks up to it and drapes a bedsheet over the camera (and then beats the crap out of it) is so ridiculous it makes me want to cry.

And to all those of you non-military guys and gals: not all soldiers think arming robots is a good idea. It's the dumb asses sitting behind a desk in the US that think it's a good idea. A complete and monumental waste of your tax dollars, I assure you."