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Rise of the Machine
02-29-2008, 05:47 AM,
Rise of the Machine
<span style="color:#FF0000">Rise of the machine: Terminator-style robot war 'could be a reality within 10 years'

Robot soldiers that can decide who to attack will soon be roaming the world's battlefields if something isn't done about the global 'robot arms race'.

That is the stark warning from a leading robotics expert who spoke today of the dangers of allowing increasingly sophisticated robots to make decisions of life and death.

Professor Noel Sharkey, a robotics and artificial intelligent expert from the University of Sheffield, also warned that armed robots could soon become terrorists' weapon of choice. [/color]

[Image: MilitaryRobot_468x296.jpg]
<span style="color:#CCCCCC">This Israeli military robot, the VIPeR can climb stairs and open fire on targets with a submachine gun

The trouble is that we can't really put the genie back in the bottle,” said Professor Starkey.

“Once the new weapons are out there, they will be fairly easy to copy. How long is it going to be before the terrorists get in on the act?"

Over 4,000 robots are currently deployed on the ground in Iraq and by October 2006 unmanned aircraft had flown 400,000 flight hours.

At the moment, humans can make the decision whether to attack or not but a recent policy shift in the U.S means that 'intelligent' autonomous attack robots will soon be given the power to decide who and when to kill.

In his keynote speech at a conference organised by the Royal United Services Institute, a military thinktank, Sharkey warned: "There's a massive drive towards developing autonomous robots for more complex missions.

Terminator-style robot wars could be just around the corner according to a leading robotics expert

"We are rapidly moving towards robots that can make the decision to apply lethal force, when to apply it and who to apply it to.

"I think maybe we're talking about a 10-year time frame.

Prof Sharkey, who acted as a judge in the BBC television series Robot Wars, says that deadly homebuilt robots will soon be within reach for many would-be terrorists.

"With the current prices of robot construction falling dramatically and the availability of ready-made components for the amateur market, it wouldn't require a lot of skill to make autonomous robot weapons."

"Current robots are dumb machines with very limited sensing capability. What this means is that it is not possible to guarantee discrimination between combatants and innocents or a proportional use of force as required by the current Laws of War.

"It seems clear that there is an urgent need for the international community to assess the risks of these new weapons now rather than after they have crept their way into common use."

In August last year Professor Sharkey called for a code of ethics for autonomous robots in war to be introduced.

Autonomous weapon programmes, including robots and unmannned aircraft, are increasingly appealing to the world's military because they lower the risk to soldiers.

However, while robot soldiers are generally believed to be extremely reliable some experts have also raised concerns about whether the software they rely upon could potentially be 'hacked' to turn the robot on its own troops.

02-29-2008, 04:15 PM,
Rise of the Machine
daily mail. nuf said

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