Latest Episode

Go Back   Keith and The Girl Forums Keith and The Girl Forums HUAR! Command Center

HUAR! Command Center HUAR! news

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 05-17-2009, 09:17 PM   #1 (permalink)
Junior Member
The Harvest's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Vancouver
Posts: 10
Robots That Kill For America - Magazine Article

Robots That Kill For America
Quentin Hardy, 05.14.09, 6:40 PM ET

We are surrounded by robots, from automated dogs and vacuum cleaners at home to assistants in operating rooms and on the factory floor. The most influential (and the greatest number) of these robots, however, are in a place few Americans see: the battlefield. More than anything, robots are changing the way war works.

On Saturday, thousands of Americans will go on U.S. military bases to commemorate Armed Forces Day, designated to honor current American servicemen and show off some of our state of the art weaponry. As never before, people may see flying drones, observation craft, bomb disposers, automated machine guns, independently operating submarines, even (if they see experimental devices) war bots that bounce, crawl or burrow. Some deliver sensory data to soldiers, while others carry out instructions to kill.

Robotics in war is the most important change in major human activity dating back at least 5,000 years, according to P.W. Singer, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution think tank and the author of Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century.

In Pictures: 10 Cool And Scary Robots Of War

"Every mission [that] soldiers go out on in Iraq, there's something (automated) flying over them, maybe an unmanned vehicle scouting ahead of them," Singer says. "When they shoot, the key is what they put their laser on for a drone to fire at. ... The story of the surge is not the additional troops, it's the air strikes (by machines like Predator drones) going up by a huge amount."

The numbers illustrate this: With the U.S. military budget likely to fall, spending on robotic systems is steadily rising, even as--thanks to Moore's Law and plain old engineering--the machines are getting cheaper. In 2003, there were barely any ground-based robots in Iraq, the kind of small, treaded vehicles used to look for insurgents and disarm explosives. Today there are over 12,000.

War in the field is still highly dangerous, of course, but even when soldiers are wounded they may have a close encounter with a machine, in the form of bionic limbs that may even allow them to return to combat. Thanks to robots, however, fewer soldiers face those hazards. The predator drones used in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan are "flown" by remote control from safe military bases in the U.S.

In their early stages, robots seem like a great addition to the U.S. arsenal, but problems likely will arise as the systems grow more complex. Nor is this strictly a U.S. phenomenon, Singer notes, or even one that limits war to its traditional nation-state owners. "Forty-three other countries besides the U.S. build military robots," he says. "A few weeks ago we shot down an Iranian drone over Iraq." Hezbollah used four drones to attack Israel in its recent conflict and used others as observation craft before that conflict started, Singer says.

Individuals may be next. "I talked to a researcher who told me that for $50,000 worth of robots he could shut down New York for a day. It was pretty convincing. Warfare will go open source."

Even more, it may be harder than ever to say when and where wars begin and end, given the low cost of leaving sensors and material in the field (or protecting New York), in a kind of perpetual deployment that is impossible with people.

Much remains to be worked out, including perhaps the greatest piece of the puzzle: what robots everywhere will mean for war itself. Historically, victory has meant a superiority of economy, tactics, courage or other elements that defined the winning nation's identity. Germany fell decisively in WWII because fascism was seen as hollow.

"With machines, it will be less and less about why we go--they don't need motivation psychology, the shifts that turned many great battles," says Singer. "War meant committing to an act of violence that could put your nation's survival at stake. It may not mean that now."
(Offline)   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:30 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2023, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.1
Keith and The GirlAd Management plugin by RedTyger