Uncle Sam Does Not Want You: the New Robot Army
Pentagon Plans to Draft Robot Army
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 costs of buying new weapons is scheduled to rise 52 percent, from $78 billion to $118.6 billion.
"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."
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 they may become swarms of "smart dust."
The Pentagon intends for robots to haul munitions, gather intelligence, search buildings or blow them up.
"The lawyers tell me there are no prohibitions against robots making life-or-death decisions," said Mr. Johnson, who leads robotics efforts at the Joint Forces Command 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."
The Pentagon predicts that robots will be a major fighting force in the American military in less than a decade.
New Model Army Soldier Rolls Closer to Battle
Published: February 16, 2005
Hunting for guerillas, handling roadside bombs, crawling across the caves and crumbling towns of Afghanistan and Iraq; all of that was just a start.
Now, the Army is prepping its squad of robotic vehicles for a new set of assignments. And this time, they'll be carrying guns ...
*More Robot Grunts Ready for Duty
"This opens up great vistas, some quite pleasant, others quite nightmarish. On the one hand, this could make our flesh-and-blood soldiers so hard to get to that traditional war -- a match of relatively evenly matched peers -- could become a thing of the past," he said. "But this might also rob us of our humanity.
We could be the ones that wind up looking like Terminators, in the world's eyes."
*Robot Sharpshooter Bound For Iraq
If battle bots ever do take on the bulk of frontline fighting, the results could transform military strategy. *Battle bot: the future of war?
A Future Horizons' report contends that "the electronics industry is on the cusp of a robotics wave, a period in which applications are aimed at human labour saving and extending human skills.
It states that the market need, technology and economical justification have coincided to create a new electro mechanical robot system."
And here is the key prediction: "By 2010 the $59.3bn worldwide robotic market will equate to 55.5 million units made up of domestic robots accounting for 39 million units; domestic intelligent service robots accounting for 10.5 million units; professional intelligent service robots accounting for 5.8 million units; and accounting for heavy industrial robots." ...
*A robot in every home by 2010
Settle on your jetpack, hitch up your blaster, and tune in the videotron as we tour Future Past! *Tales of Future Past
Have you ever met a real robot? You might have if you work in a factory, nuclear power plant or military facility where people are not allowed to go.
Nevertheless, robots are turning up in new places every day. Chances are good that you will meet one of them sometime soon ...
*A New Model Army Soldier
In future wars, robots may drop from the sky by the hundreds from unmanned aircraft, swarming like giant insects over battlefields in coordinated, terrifying assaults.
Future wars could be fought by robots commanded by humans. We could withdraw from war completely and let robots shoot it out.
The SWORDS, short for Special Weapons Observation Reconnaissance Detection Systems, will be the first armed robotic vehicles to see combat, years ahead of the larger Future Combat System vehicles currently under development by big defense contractors such as Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics Corp ...
*Army Readies Robot Soldier for Iraq
There are more than 100 Talon Robots at work in Iraq and Afghanistan ...
*Talon Military Robot
One measure of how effective battlefield robots have become, says a top Pentagon robotics official, is that the enemy has begun to target them ...
*Battlefield robots saving lives
The U.S. military has been developing robotic systems for all sorts of jobs for years now.
*How Military Robots Work
Other references ...
*Military Robots the Next Step
*Looking to Iraq, Military Robots
*Rugged Robots Help Troops