Activism Discussion: Robot Soldiers Are Coming

Robot Soldiers Are Coming
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Dan Clore
2005-02-17 00:14:09 EST
News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo

SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/212243_robots16.html
Robot soldiers might one day replace real thing
Automated forces could make life-death choices
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
By TIM WEINER
THE NEW YORK TIMES

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
Pentagon's Joint Forces Command. "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.

The Pentagon predicts that robots will be a major fighting
force in the U.S. military in less than a decade, hunting
and killing enemies in combat. Robots are a crucial part of
the Army's effort to rebuild itself as a 21st-century
fighting force, and a $127 billion project called Future
Combat Systems is the biggest military contract in American
history.

The military plans to invest tens of billions of dollars in
automated armed forces. The costs of that transformation
will help drive the Defense Department's budget up almost 20
percent, from a requested $419.3 billion for next year to
$502.3 billion in 2010, excluding the costs of war. The
annual cost of buying new weapons is scheduled to rise 52
percent, from $78 billion to $118.6 billion.

Military planners say robot soldiers will think, see and
react increasingly like humans. In the beginning, they will
be remote-controlled, looking and acting like lethal toy
trucks. As the technology develops, they may take many
shapes. And as their intelligence grows, so will their autonomy.

The robot soldier has been a dream at the Pentagon for 30
years. And some involved in the work say it may take at
least 30 more years to realize in full. Well before then,
they say, the military will have to answer some tough
questions if it intends to trust robots with the
responsibility of distinguishing friend from foe, combatant
from innocent bystander.

Even the strongest advocates of automatons say that war will
always remain a human endeavor, marked by death and
disaster. And supporters like Robert Finkelstein, president
of Robotic Technology in Potomac, Md., are telling the
Pentagon that it could take until 2035 to develop a robot
that looks, thinks and fights like a soldier. The Pentagon's
"goal is there," he said, "but the path is not totally clear."

Robots in battle, as envisioned by their builders, may look
and move like humans or hummingbirds, tractors or tanks,
cockroaches or crickets. With the development of
nanotechnology -- the science of very small structures --
they may become swarms of "smart dust." The Pentagon intends
for robots to haul munitions, gather intelligence, search
buildings or blow them up.

All these are in the works, but not yet in battle.

Already, however, several hundred robots are digging up
roadside bombs in Iraq, scouring caves in Afghanistan and
serving as armed sentries at American weapons depots.

By April, an armed version of the bomb-disposal robot will
be in Baghdad, capable of firing 1,000 rounds a minute.
Though controlled by a soldier with a laptop, the robot will
be the first thinking machine of its kind to take up a
front-line infantry position, ready to kill enemies.

"The real world is not Hollywood," said Rodney A. Brooks,
director for the Computer Science and Artificial
Intelligence Laboratory at MIT and a co-founder of the
iRobot Corp. "Right now, we have the first few robots that
are actually useful to the military."

Despite the obstacles, Congress ordered in 2000 that a third
of the ground vehicles and a third of the deep-strike
aircraft in the military must become robotic within a
decade. If that mandate is to be met, the United States will
be spending many billions of dollars on military robots by 2010.

As the first lethal robots head for Iraq, the role of the
robot soldier as a killing machine has barely been debated.
The history of warfare suggests that every new technological
leap -- the longbow, the tank, the atomic bomb -- outraces
the strategy and doctrine to control it.

"The lawyers tell me there are no prohibitions against
robots making life-or-death decisions," said Johnson, who
leads robotics programs at the Joint Forces research center
in Suffolk, Va. "I have been asked what happens if the robot
destroys a school bus rather than a tank parked nearby. We
will not entrust a robot with that decision until we are
confident they can make it."

Trusting robots with potentially deadly decision-making may
require a leap of faith in technology not everyone is ready
to make.

Bill Joy, a co-founder of Sun Microsystems, has worried
aloud that 21st-century robotics and nanotechnology may
become "so powerful that they can spawn whole new classes of
accidents and abuses."

"As machines become more intelligent, people will let
machines make more of their decisions for them," Joy wrote
recently in Wired magazine. "Eventually a stage may be
reached at which the decisions necessary to keep the system
running will be so complex that human beings will be
incapable of making them intelligently. At that stage the
machines will be in effective control."

Pentagon officials and military contractors say the ultimate
ideal of unmanned warfare is combat without casualties.
Failing that, their goal is to give as many dirty,
difficult, dull or dangerous missions as possible to the
robots, conserving American minds and protecting American
bodies in battle.

"Anyone who's a decision maker doesn't want American lives
at risk," Brooks said. "It's the same question as, 'Should
soldiers be given body armor?' It's a moral issue. And cost
comes in."

Money, in fact, may matter more than morals.

The Pentagon today owes its soldiers $653 billion in future
retirement benefits that it cannot pay. The cost of a
soldier from enlistment to interment is about $4 million
today and growing, according to a Pentagon study.

Robot soldiers are supposed to cost a tenth of that or less.

WHAT THEY DO

Now: Robots are digging up roadside bombs in Iraq, scouring
caves in Afghanistan and serving as armed sentries at
American weapons depots.

In the future: The Pentagon intends for robots to hunt and
kill enemies in combat, haul munitions, gather intelligence
or blow up buildings.

--
Dan Clore

Now available: _The Unspeakable and Others_
http://www.wildsidepress.com/index2.htm
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1587154838/thedanclorenecro
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News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:
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any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in
itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or
tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never
entered into any war, or act of hostility against any
Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no
pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce
an interruption of the harmony existing between the two
countries.
-- The Treaty of Tripoli, entered into by the USA under
George Washington














Courageous
2005-02-17 03:48:38 EST

>In the future: The Pentagon intends for robots to hunt and
>kill enemies in combat, haul munitions, gather intelligence
>or blow up buildings.

Keep in mind that all this is going on, already, in the air.

The ground is infinitely more complicated.

Look for "MICA" (a DARPA program) on the net for more info.

We'll only be seeing specialized applications for some time
to come, but yes, "Terminator" is a military wet dream.

C//



Joshua Holmes
2005-02-17 08:05:43 EST
In alt.society.anarchy Dan Clore <clore@columbia-center.org> wrote:

: SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER
: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/212243_robots16.html
: Robot soldiers might one day replace real thing

If the contract is through Skynet, I'm out of here.

--
Joshua Holmes
j*s@force.stwing.upenn.edu

Does a man tell you of sacrifice?
Beware, he intends to make you the bull.

Bill Levinson
2005-02-17 12:30:47 EST


Joshua Holmes wrote:

> In alt.society.anarchy Dan Clore <clore@columbia-center.org> wrote:
>
> : SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER
> : http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/212243_robots16.html
> : Robot soldiers might one day replace real thing
>
> If the contract is through Skynet, I'm out of here.

ROTFL! (We know we are in trouble when they start saying things like
"I'll be back.")

Actually, I advise you to pay VERY close attention in German class.
Cordwainer Smith (Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger) wrote "Mark Elf"
("Model Eleven") in the 1950s. The Sixth German Reich had developed
killing machines known as Menschenjagers (Man-Hunters) whose mission was
described as follows:

"It is my function to detect true German thoughts and to kill all men
who do not have German thoughts."

So the only way to stop it from killing you was to say something to it
in German. The Americans, meanwhile, had developed an even
less-discriminating weapon, the Kaskaskia Effect. It killed everyone
with normal intelligence or above (along with computer intelligences
like the Menschenjagers), which meant that only mentally-deficient
people could survive its presence.

I heard that Hillary Clinton and Howard Dean plan to unleash the
Kaskaskia Effect before the 2008 election, thus ensuring that all fifty
states (plus DC of course) turn blue on election night. :-)

--Bill
http://www.stentorian.com/politics/


Wm James
2005-02-18 11:50:24 EST
On Thu, 17 Feb 2005 17:30:47 GMT, Bill Levinson
<*n@ix.netcom.com> wrote:

>
>
>Joshua Holmes wrote:
>
>> In alt.society.anarchy Dan Clore <clore@columbia-center.org> wrote:
>>
>> : SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER
>> : http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/212243_robots16.html
>> : Robot soldiers might one day replace real thing
>>
>> If the contract is through Skynet, I'm out of here.
>
>ROTFL! (We know we are in trouble when they start saying things like
>"I'll be back.")

Don't worry. Just be smart. Apparently people of the future are very
stupid. They use dogs to detect the terminators because they are
covered with skin and look human and so are able to blend in and
infiltrate, right? How about a simple rule? If anyone comes around
with 26 inch biceps and a thick austrian accent, shoot it! It seems
to me that if Skynet makes it's terminators look and sound like Arnold
to blend in, it has a serious design flaw. :)

Also, if machines can get through the time displacement thingie if
covered with skin, why didn't the idiot shove a ray gun up his rectum
to take through like a prisoner smugling a pitol?

And if it takes being covered with skin, how did the next two
terminators get through? And why did that have to kill someone just
to copy their clothes?

And why do they always pause and wait for the terminator to recover
before running after knowcing the thing down?

William R. James


Michael Ejercito
2005-02-18 12:25:10 EST

Wm James wrote:
> On Thu, 17 Feb 2005 17:30:47 GMT, Bill Levinson
> <bill.levinson@ix.netcom.com> wrote:
>
> >
> >
> >Joshua Holmes wrote:
> >
> >> In alt.society.anarchy Dan Clore <clore@columbia-center.org>
wrote:
> >>
> >> : SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER
> >> : http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/212243_robots16.html
> >> : Robot soldiers might one day replace real thing
> >>
> >> If the contract is through Skynet, I'm out of here.
> >
> >ROTFL! (We know we are in trouble when they start saying things like

> >"I'll be back.")
>
> Don't worry. Just be smart. Apparently people of the future are very
> stupid. They use dogs to detect the terminators because they are
> covered with skin and look human and so are able to blend in and
> infiltrate, right? How about a simple rule? If anyone comes around
> with 26 inch biceps and a thick austrian accent, shoot it! It seems
> to me that if Skynet makes it's terminators look and sound like
Arnold
> to blend in, it has a serious design flaw. :)
>
> Also, if machines can get through the time displacement thingie if
> covered with skin, why didn't the idiot shove a ray gun up his rectum
> to take through like a prisoner smugling a pitol?
Because he is an idiot.

>
> And if it takes being covered with skin, how did the next two
> terminators get through? And why did that have to kill someone just
> to copy their clothes?
>
They were covered in skin and later the skin was shed.


Michael


Michael Ejercito
2005-02-18 12:31:33 EST

Dan Clore wrote:
> News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:
> http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo
>
> SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER
> http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/212243_robots16.html
> Robot soldiers might one day replace real thing
> Automated forces could make life-death choices
> Wednesday, February 16, 2005
> By TIM WEINER
> THE NEW YORK TIMES
>
> The American military is working on a new generation of
> soldiers, far different from the army it has.
>
This development was inevitable. The concept of automated weapons
has been around even before guided missiles and torpedoes, which could
be considered as robotic suicide bombers.
Of course, the important thing would be command and control.
Disrupting command and control would reduce the effectiveness of robot
soldiers.


Michael


Michael Gray
2005-02-18 22:32:07 EST
On 18 Feb 2005 09:31:33 -0800, "Michael Ejercito"
<*t@hotmail.com> wrote:

>
>Dan Clore wrote:
>> News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:
>> http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo
>>
>> SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER
>> http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/212243_robots16.html
>> Robot soldiers might one day replace real thing
>> Automated forces could make life-death choices
>> Wednesday, February 16, 2005
>> By TIM WEINER
>> THE NEW YORK TIMES
>>
>> The American military is working on a new generation of
>> soldiers, far different from the army it has.
>>
> This development was inevitable. The concept of automated weapons
>has been around even before guided missiles and torpedoes, which could
>be considered as robotic suicide bombers.
> Of course, the important thing would be command and control.
>Disrupting command and control would reduce the effectiveness of robot
>soldiers.
>
>
> Michael

The answer is simple:
Replace the command centre's coke machine with one full of cans spiked
with LSD.
Iraqis and Afgans may not notice any difference in the accuracy and
selectivity of targetting, though...
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