Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Future Fighting Force

Okay, forget all about that lame-ass Robo-Ball from a couple of days ago. There are some new robots in town and my mind has been totally blown. Fresh from the NYT Tech section:

The American military is working on a new generation of soldiers, far different from the army it has.

"They don't get hungry," said Gordon Johnson of the Joint Forces Command at the Pentagon.

"They're not afraid. They don't forget their orders. They don't care if the guy next to them has just been shot. Will they do a better job than humans? Yes."

The robot soldier is coming.

I’m going to take a moment to type a whole bunch of question marks and exclamation points in a row now.


What?! Here’s a pull quote:

A prototype, about four feet high, with a Cyclops eye and a gun for a right arm, stood in a workshop at the center recently. It readied, aimed and fired at a Pepsi can, performing the basic tasks of hunting and killing.

And god damn it here’s another one:

A fifth [prototype], originally designed as a security guard, will soon be able to launch drones to conduct surveillance, psychological warfare and other missions.

Psychological warfare?! What?! WE ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE DOING THIS PEOPLE. Haven’t these guys seen the Terminators? Or Short Circuit? Maybe even Short Circuit 2?! Apparently, they have:

"The real world is not Hollywood," said Rodney A. Brooks, director of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at M.I.T. and a co-founder of the iRobot Corporation.

!!! Which brings up an interesting point. What about those three sacred laws, so wonderfully explored in Will Smith's recent masterpiece?

Mr. Angle [of iRobot Corps] was asked whether the Asimov rules still apply in the dawning age of robot soldiers. "We are a long ways," he said, "from creating a robot that knows what that means.”

Oh boy. There's also an audio slide show and a graphic of the cycloptic prototype. Though not nearly as scary as I'd imagined, there's still no way this is not a bad idea.

On the lighter side, here’s a sketch just bursting with relevance from our last show. Feel free to rock your brains out. That is, while you're still unenslaved enough to do so.


Alex said...

"The real world is not Hollywood," said the man who named his company the iRobot Corporation.