Monday, April 8, 2013

Robot Soldier

Just found this and had to run over to put this up.  No comment from me yet.

Here's a comment from the linked website, though, basil:
"It's going to be used for chasing people across the desert, I would imagine. I can't think of many civilian applications - maybe for hunting, or farming, for rounding up sheep,” Noel Sharkey, professor of artificial intelligence and robotics at the University of Sheffield, told the BBC previously in regards to DARPA’s robot creations. "But of course if it's used for combat, it would be killing civilians as well as it's not going to be able to discriminate between civilians and soldiers,” he said.

And my comment would be; "Hmmm. I think this might be one of the Doctor's most troublesome foes..." Cybermen!


  1. Lots of civilian aps - some scientists are already working on robotic nursing assistants and security guards. Can you picture what havoc that DHS could wreak on us by allowing robots to frisk or patdown or heaven forbid strip search the flying public? Or worse do you want to trust your loved pne's medications to robotocized Nurses Ratched and Pilbow? I would be much more afraid of those than milbots - unless of course I was working in close proximity to one. Do you remember this Robot Cannon accident of several years ago?

    Isaac A wherever he is needs to come to the rescue of the 21st century.

  2. mike, we might have to puill out those "RoboCop" movies again to see what's in store for us. When I first saw them, I thought them decent fantasy/sci-fi flicks.

    But now, here we are, where we're at.

    Corporate control of society and government ( check! ) with profit the only motive for existence ( check! ) and out-of-control robots ( check! ).

    And meet LAWS ( interesting name, that ) from the Navy.

    It seems America and China are constructing military systems and structures to put on a nice little war with each other, no matter we do seem to get along and have a massive trade with each other.

    So when I see and read stories like these, all that pops into my little noggin is "What goddam miserable morally stunted techie dweebs complete with little woodies for war."

    Our Military Industrial Complex at home.


  3. The problem with this (I suspect) is and always will be the problem with balance.

    Walking robots have always had issues with the inability to shift their weight to deal with uneven surfaces. Humans have a pretty sophisticated neuro-muscular setup to deal with terrain; AFAIK nobody has been able to solve the problem with nonorganic systems. I note that the robot in this picture is suspended in a harness; whether or not it could move across anything rougher than a concrete floor is, to my mind, highly suspect...

  4. Chief - QuadraBots? Start like our ancestors did on all fours. Or hex perhaps, more legs than that seems pricey. SpiderBots or miilipeds could be the ultimate in stability but could they be built cost effectively?

    bb - Let us hope that LaWS always keeps a man in the loop. Hard to do if they are swarmed. At some point the Gunnery Officer would have to put them in an automated 'guns free' mode where they would do their own target acquisition and fire control. That is dangerous for friendlies close by. It should have some type of IFF. The CIWS gatling gun system quoted in your link as a predecessor to LaWS was extremely dangerous in its early years, see CWS Incidents Link in Wikipedia.

    The advanced LaWS version mentioned in your link with a megawatt plus of power will be even more dangerous for friendlies. I have always admired technological advances. But some adaptations scare me. I am a known Luddite in many cases. I suspect you are probably one also.



    coneheads can make some scary software

  6. Dunno, mike. Balance is one of the toughest things that organisms do. So far as I know the ability to navigate irregular terrain has been the hardest thing designers of mobile robots have confronted, and I'm not sure that anyone has really licked it. Even remotely piloted wheeled vehicles are typically used for short distances over relatively level ground.

    Not saying that it can't be licked - indeed, I suspect that some combination of gyroscopic controls and improved mechanical agility will get closer to solving it - but just that I don't know if we're there yet.