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Pentagon exploring robot killers that can fire on their own
03-27-2009, 05:11 AM,
#1
Pentagon exploring robot killers that can fire on their own
[Image: terminator1.jpg]
Pentagon exploring robot killers that can fire on their own
Robert S. Boyd | McClatchy Newspapers
March 25, 2009 01:35:38 PM

WASHINGTON — The unmanned bombers that frequently cause unintended civilian casualties in Pakistan are a step toward an even more lethal generation of robotic hunters-killers that operate with limited, if any, human control.

The Defense Department is financing studies of autonomous, or self-governing, armed robots that could find and destroy targets on their own. On-board computer programs, not flesh-and-blood people, would decide whether to fire their weapons.

"The trend is clear: Warfare will continue and autonomous robots will ultimately be deployed in its conduct," Ronald Arkin, a robotics expert at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, wrote in a study commissioned by the Army.

"The pressure of an increasing battlefield tempo is forcing autonomy further and further toward the point of robots making that final, lethal decision," he predicted. "The time available to make the decision to shoot or not to shoot is becoming too short for remote humans to make intelligent informed decisions."

Autonomous armed robotic systems probably will be operating by 2020, according to John Pike, an expert on defense and intelligence matters and the director of the security Web site GlobalSecurity.org in Washington.

This prospect alarms experts, who fear that machines will be unable to distinguish between legitimate targets and civilians in a war zone.

"We are sleepwalking into a brave new world where robots decide who, where and when to kill," said Noel Sharkey, an expert on robotics and artificial intelligence at the University of Sheffield, England.

Human operators thousands of miles away in Nevada, using satellite communications, control the current generation of missile-firing robotic aircraft, known as Predators and Reapers. Armed ground robots, such as the Army's Modular Advanced Armed Robotic System, also require a human decision-maker before they shoot.

As of now, about 5,000 lethal and nonlethal robots are deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Besides targeting Taliban and al Qaida leaders, they perform surveillance, disarm roadside bombs, ferry supplies and carry out other military tasks. So far, none of these machines is autonomous; all are under human control.

The Pentagon's plans for its Future Combat System envision increasing levels of independence for its robots.

"Fully autonomous engagement without human intervention should also be considered, under user-defined conditions," said a 2007 Army request for proposals to design future robots.

For example, the Pentagon says that air-to-air combat may happen too fast to allow a remote controller to fire an unmanned aircraft's weapons.

"There is really no way that a system that is remotely controlled can effectively operate in an offensive or defensive air-combat environment," Dyke Weatherington, the deputy director of the Pentagon's unmanned aerial systems task force, told a news conference on Dec. 18, 2007. "The requirement for that is a fully autonomous system," he said. "That will take many years to get to."

Many Navy warships carry the autonomous, rapid-fire Phalanx system, which is designed to shoot down enemy missiles or aircraft that have penetrated outer defenses without waiting for a human decision-maker.

At Georgia Tech, Arkin is finishing a three-year Army contract to find ways to ensure that robots are used in appropriate ways. His idea is an "ethical governor" computer system that would require robots to obey the internationally recognized laws of war and the U.S. military's rules of engagement.

"Robots must be constrained to adhere to the same laws as humans or they should not be permitted on the battlefield," Arkin wrote.

For example, a robot's computer "brain" would block it from aiming a missile at a hospital, church, cemetery or cultural landmark, even if enemy forces were clustered nearby. The presence of women or children also would spark a robotic no-no.

Arkin contends that a properly designed robot could behave with greater restraint than human soldiers in the heat of battle and cause fewer casualties.

"Robots can be built that do not exhibit fear, anger, frustration or revenge, and that ultimately behave in a more humane manner than even human beings in these harsh circumstances," he wrote.

Sharkey, the British critic of autonomous armed robots, said that Arkin's ethical governor was "a good idea in principle. Unfortunately, it's doomed to failure at present because no robots or AI (artificial intelligence) systems could discriminate between a combatant and an innocent. That sensing ability just does not exist."

Selmer Bringsjord, an artificial intelligence expert at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., is worried, too.

"I'm concerned. The stakes are very high," Bringsjord said. "If we give robots the power to do nasty things, we have to use logic to teach them not to do unethical things. If we can't figure this out, we shouldn't build any of these robots."


http://www.mcclatchydc.com/256/story/64779.html

<more>
Robot soldiers taking over?
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?con...a&aid=12896

War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century
http://www.democracynow.org/2009/2/6/wired...tics_revolution
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03-30-2009, 02:53 AM,
#2
Pentagon exploring robot killers that can fire on their own
I worry about these robots going into the nanorealm.
Already we are seeing carbon nanotube muscles.
And then we have invisibility on these things...
Humanoid Robots are very close in the future.
Looking at how powerful these muscles are compared to regular human muscle would be pretty much like describing the PC game Crysis.
The one goal I carry is to help as many people as possible. People often ask me if I can talk. Many believe that I am a mute. Others regard me as genius.
http://www.xfire.com/profile/mmstick
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05-27-2009, 07:59 PM,
#3
Pentagon exploring robot killers that can fire on their own
[Image: terminator_salvation__m.jpg]
Killer Robots : The Coming Reality
May 10, 2009

It's very interesting to note that when the first Terminator movie was released and found its monumental worldwide audience on video in the mid-1980s, the idea of turning robots into ethics-and-morality-free killers for the world's military was pure science fiction for most, even though armed robots were already well under development in the research divisions of the world's biggest military contractors.

Today, the United States has a fleet of 7000 drones (some armed) and more than 12,000 "unarmed ground vehicles" deployed in its combat zones. This is a robot army. It's not science fiction. It's real. Armed robots are already fighting our wars. And the US is not alone by any stretch in trying to remove the human soldier from dangerous, expensive, future war deployments. Put it this way, dead human soldiers are expensive, robots in comparison are cheap :

More than 43 countries are developing military robotics, including Israel, Iran, China, Pakistan and Russia, as well as Britain and Australia.

The world is on the brink of a "robotics revolution" in military combat that will have profound social, psychological, political and ethical effects, says a leading US defence analyst.

"We are living through the end of humankind's 5000-year-old monopoly on the fighting of war … The robots of today are the first technologies to change the 'who' of war, not just the 'how' of war…"

With robotics transforming the nature of warfare, it was risky, he warned, to "make grand commitments before you figure out where things are headed".

Autonomous robots in the battlefield will soon, it is claimed, be making the all important decision to open fire on their own. There will be no 22 year old raised and trained on video games piloting that Hellfire equipped drone over Waziristan from a comfy chair in Nevada, the flying killer robot will soon find its own targets, and make the decision for itself to kill another few dozen poor brown people.

Will we see a day when a software programmer is held responsible for the slaughter of civilians when flying killer robots kill two 'terrorists' but a dozen women and children as well?

If no human, or software creator or defence contractor is directly responsible for the civilian-slaughtering decisions made by its robotic army, and stealthy flying assassins, then killer robots will become the front line soldiers of all future wars fought by the West :

The unmanned bombers that frequently cause unintended civilian casualties in Pakistan are a step toward an even more lethal generation of robotic hunters-killers that operate with limited, if any, human control.

The Defense Department is financing studies of autonomous, or self-governing, armed robots that could find and destroy targets on their own. On-board computer programs, not flesh-and-blood people, would decide whether to fire their weapons.

Autonomous armed robotic systems probably will be operating by 2020, according to John Pike, an expert on defense and intelligence matters and the director of the security Web site GlobalSecurity.org in Washington.

Human operators thousands of miles away in Nevada, using satellite communications, control the current generation of missile-firing robotic aircraft, known as Predators and Reapers. Armed ground robots, such as the Army's Modular Advanced Armed Robotic System, also require a human decision-maker before they shoot.

Many Navy warships carry the autonomous, rapid-fire Phalanx system, which is designed to shoot down enemy missiles or aircraft that have penetrated outer defenses without waiting for a human decision-maker.

Some people have high hopes for the most brutal and heartless killing system ever devised by man :

"Robots must be constrained to adhere to the same laws as humans or they should not be permitted on the battlefield..."

Yeah, like that's going to happen.

But could a killer robot be developed that is more empathetically human than a flesh and blood human?

Arkin contends that a properly designed robot could behave with greater restraint than human soldiers in the heat of battle and cause fewer casualties.

"Robots can be built that do not exhibit fear, anger, frustration or revenge, and that ultimately behave in a more humane manner than even human beings in these harsh circumstances," he wrote.

A British critic of autonomous armed robots says the idea that robots can be 'taught' to tell the difference between enemy and civilian is the stuff of pure fantasy :

"....it's doomed to failure at present because no robots or AI (artificial intelligence) systems could discriminate between a combatant and an innocent. That sensing ability just does not exist."

Selmer Bringsjord, an artificial intelligence expert at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., is worried, too.

"I'm concerned. The stakes are very high," Bringsjord said. "If we give robots the power to do nasty things, we have to use logic to teach them not to do unethical things. If we can't figure this out, we shouldn't build any of these robots."

But they're already being built. China and the United States are expected to fire up mass production lines of military robots in the next twelve months. Humans are too expensive, and too responsible. They also have families, and insurance for the warzoned is expensive.

Killer robots are cheap, and they don't cry, and they don't come down with PTSD, and they don't go home and write books about all the innocent people they accidentally killed, or were ordered to kill.

It will take years for international law to catch up with the use of autonomous killer robots in the warzones of the world. By then, of course, they will be everywhere, every side, all sides, will have them. Trying to shut down or wind back the prroduction lines of ground and aerial killer robots will be as impossible a grand task as trying to recall all the AK-47s circulating in Africa.

Killer robots have left the pages of Philip K Dick and a thousand other science fiction authors, and stepped out of the cinema screens and entered our reality.

If I learned anything about dealing with killer robots from the Terminator movies or those hundreds of luridly covered, tattered old science fiction paperbacks, is it this :

You Have To Hit Them Hard.

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http://yournewreality.blogspot.com/2009/05...-know-that.html
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06-04-2009, 09:29 AM,
#4
Pentagon exploring robot killers that can fire on their own
try and prosecute a machine for gunning down a village of or a roomful of schoolchildren. tricky.
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