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Robotics AI The Military

Emotional Attachment To Robots Could Affect Battlefield Outcome 194

Posted by Soulskill
from the finally-a-use-for-the-uncanny-valley dept.
vinces99 writes "It's becoming more common to have robots sub for humans to do dirty or sometimes dangerous work. But researchers are finding that, in some cases, people have started to treat robots like pets, friends or even as an extension of themselves. That raises a question: If a soldier attaches human or animal-like characteristics to a field robot, can it affect how they use the robot? What if they 'care' too much about the robot to send it into a dangerous situation? Julie Carpenter, who just received a doctorate in education from the University of Washington, wanted to find out. She interviewed Explosive Ordnance Disposal military personnel – highly trained soldiers who use robots to disarm explosives – about how they feel about the robots they work with every day. What she found is that troops' relationships with robots continue to evolve as the technology changes. Soldiers told her that attachment to their robots didn't affect their performance, yet acknowledged they felt a range of emotions such as frustration, anger and even sadness when their field robot was destroyed. That makes Carpenter wonder whether outcomes on the battlefield could potentially be compromised by human-robot attachment, or the feeling of self-extension into the robot described by some operators."
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Emotional Attachment To Robots Could Affect Battlefield Outcome

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  • by harvestsun (2948641) on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @06:27PM (#44888683)
    Build robots to control the robots.
    • by binarylarry (1338699) on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @06:30PM (#44888705)

      No, the simple solution is to intentionally make the robots evil.

      That way when GJ Joe marches out there he will have no qualms about sending Flexo to his doom.

    • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @06:43PM (#44888831) Homepage Journal

      Don't you kids read Asimov, anymore? The message is simple:
      Robots are for fucking, not for fighting!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I suppose we could just use humans instead. We don't get emotional attachments to those, do we?

      • by MrKaos (858439) on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @08:12PM (#44889451) Journal

        I suppose we could just use humans instead. We don't get emotional attachments to those, do we?

        Well the robot's won't get an emotional attachment when they send a human in to get blown up, they'll just send another one.

      • by sjames (1099)

        We could send bankers, politicians, and CEOs to fight. Not only will nobody get attached to them, but it might make them a little more careful about the whole war thing if they have some skin in the game.

    • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @07:34PM (#44889229)

      Before we had robots to do EOD, men had to do it.

      No matter how attached someone might be to his robot, he's going to be more attached to his men.

      Until you find an EOD guy who says "Wish we'd never invented these robots, things were much better when *I* was the one being blown into next week rather than my little metal buddy here..." you don't have to worry about human attitudes to robots affecting their judgement in war.

      • No matter how attached someone might be to his robot, he's going to be more attached to his own life.

        FTFY.

        I'm sure there are people who would rather spare the existance of their robot than the life of a co-worker.

        • I'm sure there are people who would rather spare the existance of their robot than the life of a co-worker.

          Yeah, we call them "sociopaths" or "psychopaths". And try not to let them into the military...

          • by gd2shoe (747932)
            Sometimes we don't try hard enough. We are after people willing to risk their lives to kill others, so we can't be altogether too picky. (and yes, we need them.)
          • Of course sometimes you have a coworker and you would definitely save a robot or even a pencil before you saved them. It has nothing to do with the robot ....

            Some people are just really nasty to be around. I have been around adults that would actually cry and pitch a tantrum whenever they did not get their way ....

      • by gd2shoe (747932)

        No matter how attached someone might be to his robot, he's going to be more attached to his men.

        Bingo.

        If soldiers don't use robots in dangerous situations for fear of damaging them, it won't be because of emotional attachment issues. It will be due to fear of being raked over the coals for losing the expensive toy, or fear of not being issued a replacement.

      • I dunno, Kirobo [space.com] is more adorable than most humans, and I suspect Japan is just getting started with the cuteness factor. Plus, robots can be programmed to never be assholes.
  • At least you know they're getting lubricated regularly.

  • No. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mark-t (151149) <markt@lynx.b c . ca> on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @06:32PM (#44888723) Journal

    Just... no.

    I get that they might be sad when a robot they were using somehow gets lost or destroyed, but I really can't see that influencing how likely they are to use that robot for dangerous situations unless the soldier had somehow personally invested time and energy into making the robot do or act the way that it does, and in particular such that it would require some substantial personal investment (monetary, timewise, workwise, or simply having to wait a while) to replace it.

    • Re:No. (Score:5, Funny)

      by Russ1642 (1087959) on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @06:35PM (#44888745)

      "You will give your robot a girl's name."

      • hilarious...you just said in one sentence what it took me a paragraph to say above...

        it is just like a gun or any personal tool (...) that soldiers use...the 'robot' aspect is irrelevant

      • by AK Marc (707885)
        Name it Enola Gay. Most pilots name their planes, and many (most?) pick women's names. When the shots are fired, they care about the plane only so much as it keeps them from dying. They may mourn after they land, but they don't refuse to go on missions because their plane might get scratched.
        • by Deadstick (535032)

          Most pilots name their planes, and many (most?) pick women's names.

          Have you ventured onto an airport since 1945?

          • by AK Marc (707885)
            The general topic was military, and yes, I've been at a military airport relatively recently. Yes, the planes had names.
            • by OneAhead (1495535)
              Even if you don't look at the military, I'm pretty sure I flew in an airliner that had a name some time during the last 3 years. I don't remember exactly; it may not have been a big airline and it may not have been in the US, but it had a name written on it in a small yet legible font.
            • by Deadstick (535032)

              Are you talking about "Maj. Joe 'Cowboy' Blow" under the canopy rail? Because that (a) isn't a name of the airplane, and (b) doesn't even mean that Cowboy is aboard. Military pilots seldom "own" airplanes any more; it usually just means he's a pilot in the squadron.

        • , but they don't refuse to go on missions because their plane might get scratched.

          Yes, that's why it is called a plane and not a flying car...

    • by mjwalshe (1680392)
      Have you seen the paperwork required to requisition a new robot :)
      • by mark-t (151149)

        If replacing it with an equally functional one is sufficiently improbable or inconvenient then once any kind of emotional attachment has developed, then that will probably have an impact on their willingness to jeopardize it when they may perceive an alternative solution.

        The solution to this problem, of course, is to remove absolutely all capacity for emotion from the soldiers, effectively turning them into cybermen.

        Of course, that solution probably comes with a host of other problems... even if it we

      • by s.petry (762400)
        No kidding, it would be difficult for a level 37 bureaucrat to complete.
      • So get a robot that can do paperwork. And protect that one at all costs!

    • Mod parent up. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @06:49PM (#44888891)

      ... and in particular such that it would require some substantial personal investment (monetary, timewise, workwise, or simply having to wait a while) to replace it.

      Will I be held accountable if it is damaged or destroyed? Y/N

      Will I have to wait for a replacement? Y/N

      Y-Y - I'm keeping this thing in the original packaging.
      Y-N - I'm still keeping this thing in the original packaging.
      N-Y - I'm keeping this thing until I absolutely need it.
      N-N - ROBOWARS! Grab a beer and bet on which one will win. I've already requisitioned the replacement parts.

      • by mark-t (151149)
        Excellent point... I had not considered the impact of being held personally accountable, but I can easily see that playing a very large factor in their willingness to use it.
        • Re:Mod parent up. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by amicusNYCL (1538833) on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @07:28PM (#44889205)

          Their "willingness to use it"? You realize these are EOD guys they are talking about, right? If there's a bomb on the road, and you're responsible for disarming it, and you can either put on the big suit and walk out there to do it or fire up your robot and bust out the joystick, which choice are you going to make? The EOD guys don't think that they would rather lose a limb than have to put in an order for another robot. They use the robot unless they have no other choice, they don't want to be standing over that bomb if it goes off. Even if they gave their robot a name and painted eyes and a mouth on it and sleep next to it and act like they're feeding it, when it's time for them to do their job the choice is obvious.

          My brother in law is an EOD guy. He's not going to have the Marines call his wife and son to let them know that he's not going to be coming home, or that he's missing a couple arms and legs, because he didn't want to deploy his robot. This entire discussion is stupid.

          • by mark-t (151149)
            Obviously you're going to rather risk the robot than your own life.... but if you are expecting that you're going to be held personally responsible for destroying a multi-million dollar machine at the end of it, that's still going to give you more than just a little pause. If your CO is a dick and is the sort of person who may be likely to personally blame you for blowing it up when all you did was use the robot as it was intended, some kind assurance that isn't going to actually happen to you may be neces
            • The CO knows that the $60,000 TALON is only a tool, like a radio or gun. If a TALON approaches a bomb to defuse, and the bomb goes off, no one is going to give the tech any shit. After all, the bomb isn't there any more and it didn't kill anyone. The tech just needs a new robot, which hopefully arrives before the next call comes in.

              • by mark-t (151149)

                Obviously... but that wasn't the point made by the person who I initially responded to. His first criteria, and one that I wholeheartedly agree with, is "Will I be held accountable if it is damaged or destroyed?"

                And if the answer is yes, then that's going to impact your willingness to use it in situations where it might get damaged or destroyed. If the answer is no, because it's being used as intended, then it's really just a non-issue.

      • Will I be held accountable if it is damaged or destroyed? Y/N

        There is a big difference if it is destroyed while being used as intended, or if you got it destroyed doing something stupid and unauthorized.

        If your robot gets destroyed in a situation that would have previously killed you or your squadmate, nobody is going to ding you for it. And regardless of how expensive or time consuming they are to replace, they're cheaper and easier to replace than a soldier.

        • by Xenx (2211586)
          But the production time and costs for soldiers (at least the first 18 years) don't come out of the military budget.
        • Exactly.

          If you didn't eject, there was a remote chance you could have saved that F35 before it hit the ground and exploded! Off to the brig for you!

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      I was going to say the same thing. They'll be attached to their robots like they are to their weapons and other gear. They're devices, not animals.

    • by hedwards (940851)

      You'd be surprised. I hate letting my units get destroyed when I'm playing an RTS, it's hardly a shocker that people using real robots on the battlefield might get a bit attached to them after controlling a small number of them as they maneuver to their target.

      • Exactly how many robots does the EOD tech need in order to sneak up on the bomb and disarm it?

        • by AK Marc (707885)
          Sneak? You fucking Zerg that bomb!
          • That would actually be fairly effective, if you're dealing with a mine or something like that. Get a little cheap robot, put a brick on it, and go send it out to jump on the mine. You lose a couple hundred bucks at most (plus a brick), and the mine is gone. Different story when you're dealing with a remotely-triggered bomb though where some dick is watching it through binoculars waiting to hit dial on their phone. You could have some small guys with a wire cutter and camera each, but then you have to de

            • by AK Marc (707885)
              You send a remote-controlled car worth $10 with a $50 bomb on it. Run your bomb next to his bomb, and boom. Either both go off, or the unwanted bomb will have been rendered inert. Cheap, quick, and no loss of life.
              • by OneAhead (1495535)
                $50 will buy a *lot* of explosives - chances are that your bomb will be more powerful than his bomb.
                • by AK Marc (707885)
                  It's the military. $50 will buy you a blasting cap. Have a grenade strapped to it and a long cord back, pull the pin remotely and wait a few seconds.
                • Why? Bad guys can't scrounge $50?

      • by mark-t (151149)
        You probably hate letting your units get destroyed because of replacement cost.... that is, there is some person cost to *you*.
    • Re:No. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by globaljustin (574257) <justinglobal@gmB ... minus physicist> on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @07:28PM (#44889199) Homepage Journal

      yep just 'no' is kind...

      i'd call the research total bullshit...

      unless the soldier had somehow personally invested time and energy into making the robot do or act the way that it does

      right...this is *at the most*

      it's the same as a favorite gun or hat or w/e...I know in high school if you'd have asked me if I had an emotional attachment to my lucky black socks, I'd have said yes, and probably answered a damn Likert Scale questionaire in a way similar to this...

      fuck I hate what passes for PhD work these days...

      this study **might** have been worthwhile if she'd done some actual science by comparing her results with the bomb bot to things like favorite *boots* and *rifle* and then to drone pilots and their craft...that'd be the start of a PhD worthy researxch project

      bah!

      • Agreed.

        Tankers get attached to their tanks. AF Pilots know which plane in the squadron they like best. Infantrymen get attached to their weapons. Officially none of these tools is allowed to be named, but a) that doesn't stop people from thinking of Serial #XNF370952 as "the one that saved my ass," b) Navy ships are actually named, and c) back when they were allowed to name vehicles things the Army Air Corps functioned fine.

        They shed a tear when it gets blown up, then they patiently wait for a new one.

    • "Just... no. "

      Exactly.

      I'm sad when a power tool breaks down, but that doesn't prompt me to want to bury it and hold a service. And I don't hesitate in the slightest to go get a new one.

    • Just... no.

      I get that they might be sad when a robot they were using somehow gets lost or destroyed, but I really can't see that influencing how likely they are to use that robot for dangerous situations unless the soldier had somehow personally invested time and energy into making the robot do or act the way that it does, and in particular such that it would require some substantial personal investment (monetary, timewise, workwise, or simply having to wait a while) to replace it.

      I get that they might be sad when a robot they were using somehow gets lost or destroyed, ...

      The soldier gets sad when the robot is destroyed because next time the solder has to go downrange instead of the robot.

      ... but I really can't see that influencing how likely they are to use that robot for dangerous situations unless the soldier had somehow personally invested time and energy into making the robot do or act the way that it does, and in particular such that it would require some substantial personal investment (monetary, timewise, workwise, or simply having to wait a while) to replace it.

      I think this is nothing new. Consider a sailor and his ship. Sailors invest a lot of time and effort working on their ship, maintaining it, improving it. Its their home. Its a place of safety in a very hostile environment (the sea). They often get to love their ship yet they risk it in battle. They do so because they love something else even more, getting home. Similarly the soldier will r

  • by NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @06:34PM (#44888737)
    I've had the same kind of feelings for computers I've owned; some you like (or dislike) more than others, even the ones you've built yourself. Even cars have their own personalities, even if they're ostensibly identical.
    • "O, they ruled the solar system
      Near ten thousand years before
      'Til one brave advent'rous spirit
      Brought that mighty ship to shore."

      As you finish the last verse, Floyd smiles with contentment, and then his eyes close as his head rolls to one side. You sit in silence for a moment, in memory of a brave friend who gave his life so that you might live.

  • Needs perspective.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by twotacocombo (1529393) on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @06:37PM (#44888767)
    Do combat personnel feel emotions regarding the loss of other pieces of equipment, such as rifles or transport vehicles? If a pilot has to ditch a multi-million dollar aircraft, does he not feel anger/sadness/guilt? Have these feelings been shown to be an emotional attachment, or feelings of personal failure, etc?
  • by Xyrus (755017) on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @06:39PM (#44888797) Journal

    People get attached to all sorts things, not just robots, and this has happened for centuries. Captains get attached to their ships, soldiers get attached to their weapons, people get attached to their cars, or houses, or places, so on and so forth.

    It seems to be built into our nature to do so. That people would/could development an attachment to a robot is no surprise.

  • by Gavin Scott (15916) on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @06:39PM (#44888799)

    Given the option of taking point on some really hazardous operation yourself and letting a machine do it? I think it's stretching it to think that soldiers are going to start treating the machines as equals.

    Besides, you can backup the robot's state onto a USB key, air-drop in a new one and restore its "personality" (such as it is) and your "friend" is back from the dead.

    Very little requirement for sympathetic emotional attachment.

    G.

  • The Japanese have been exploring that concept for years.
  • by He Who Has No Name (768306) on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @06:41PM (#44888817)

    Is to be as cute and memorable as possible to increase your own chances of continued existence.

    (Sometimes referred to as the "WALL*E Rule")

  • perception (Score:4, Insightful)

    by themushroom (197365) on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @06:42PM (#44888823) Homepage

    Soldiers told her that attachment to their robots didn't affect their performance, yet acknowledged they felt a range of emotions such as frustration, anger and even sadness when their field robot was destroyed.

    There are two ways this can be taken:
    a) Like a soldier that loses a comrade on the battlefield
    b) Like a mechanic whose only 10mm crescent wrench snapped

    The former may be the implication, but the latter is a fact -- the robot is a tool and without that field robot the operator isn't doing his job / lacks the thing he's operating.

    • by AK Marc (707885)
      You are obviously not a mechanic. I've seen grown men get very angry/emotional over lost/broken tools. For a mechanic, they are tied to memories. Many mechanics buy tools as they are needed (from the Snap-On or Mac tool trucks driving around), and they'll remember the tool as "that's the one I bought when I needed to remove the heads on my grandma's old Chrysler." And then they'll reminisce about gran. If they broke the tool, it would be similar to someone knocking down her urn and spilling her ashes.
  • by Zocalo (252965) on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @06:43PM (#44888835) Homepage
    This is probably rooted in anthropomorphism; mankind has been attaching personal human-style connections to inanimate objects since before recorded history; animals, ships, deities, whether imaginary sky gods or natural objects such as sacred lakes, rocks and trees, the list goes on. I wouldn't be at all surprised if there was a strong correlation between the depth of feelings felt for the machine and the degree to which the operator had established a human-style connection to the it. Once operators start assigning pet names, applying custom paint jobs and taking photos of themselves with their robots, then it's only to be expected that there is going to be a stronger reaction when it gets damaged or destroyed.
  • by umafuckit (2980809) on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @06:44PM (#44888839)
    In WWII many US citizens donated their dogs to the war effort. Some of them wore suicide vests (http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/480/animal-sacrifice). In comparison to that, the robot thing is surely not a big deal.
    • Until the 1970's- maybe even the 1980's, if your pet got sick it died and you got a new pet.
      Pets were much less expensive as a result.

  • Becoming attached to the item will only make people slightly less likely to risk it needlessly. I don't see any way that that behavior could be considered bad.

    If I get attacked by a battle robot and destroy it, I would rather that someone, somewhere cared at least a little bit. The idea that no one cared about it at all would just make the whole thing worse.

  • Two Words (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Companion Cube

  • ... if people can get riled up about fantasy characters in mass effect 3's bad ending, then having them be emotionally invested in tools that do stuff veering on what humans can is not that far fetched.

  • by StefanJ (88986) on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @06:50PM (#44888905) Homepage Journal

    Make the battlefield robots look like gnarly insects, with stink generators that make being around them unpleasant. If they can "talk," make them sound like tedious doofuses.

    Of course, the enemy could counter by making their robots able to shape-shift -- as soon as they are out of site of their own side -- into beautiful, elegant shapes that no one would want to kill.

    Uh . . . .

    Cripes, I just wrote the background for an anime series, didn't I?

  • Soldiers told her that attachment to their robots didn't affect their performance, yet acknowledged they felt a range of emotions such as frustration, anger and even sadness when their field robot was destroyed.

    Anybody who has seen an episode of Mythbusters knows their positive relationship with Buster and the other dummies they have or craft.
  • News flash! Kid cries when his teddy bear is lost. Severance of emotional attachment is traumatic. News at 11.

  • If I compare the disposable attitude I have toward a video game life, I would think that it's far more important for a Drone pilot to value the tool he is using. We wouldn't want him throwing away a half million dollar tool right at the beginning of the game because he was more concerned with slurping his Mountain Dew.
  • Based on my past history of swearing at and smacking tech gear (it works!), I'm pretty sure any robot I worked with or acquired would suffer nothing but abuse from me.

    And what's with people trying to make robots cute? I want mine to look mean as hell, remember Maximilian from the Black Hole? That guy was freakin' awesome!

    Granted, I've been attached to some of my cars and felt really shitty when I crashed one, but it's just a car. It can be fixed and there are others out there.

  • by gman003 (1693318) on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @07:45PM (#44889295)

    Well, we could sit around investigating just how much an effect it has, or find ways to eliminate the emotional bond between soldiers and robots. Which yes, can actually be quite significant - there's a famous story of soldiers bringing a robot fishing with them while on leave.

    Or we can do the smart thing and use some tricks of psychology. I propose a system whereby the robot's "personality" (aka log files and any customized settings) be stored on a removable, hardened flash drive. Make it look like the dog tags soldiers currently wear, if possible. Then create a program under which the "personality" of damaged or destroyed robots can be transferred into new ones. Give this program a nifty acronym - I'm leaning towards MARIO (Military Android and Robot something something), for the obvious "1-Up Mushroom" reference).

    There you go. The robots can still "die" if the drive is destroyed, but otherwise I think it might cause soldiers to see that the program is just a placebo. Other than that, they'll "survive". I can see some soldiers doing foolhardy things after the fact to recover the drive, but that's *after* whatever the robot needed to do is done.

    And even better, it's cheap. Even after adding in the costs of development, procurement, certification, a few bribes and some generous donations to senators (technically not a bribe!), it should still cost less than a new toilet seat on a B2 bomber.

  • by AK Marc (707885) on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @07:46PM (#44889299)
    The US doesn't have women serve because the politicians don't want to have dead women posted on the news. The military doesn't want them because they fear that the men in the field will be too emotional in the presence of women. Now we hear men are too emotional in the presence of robots. So the issue is that men are too emotional. They can't work with women or robots, and come back with PTSD and all sorts of problems. So ban men from the field, and the problem goes away.
  • Someday, robosympathy will make sense. I'd prefer that we liked them a little better than a wrench by then. Most of the robot horror stories that have been written happen because we're unfeeling and brutal.
  • Watch this video [youtube.com] of DARPA's Big Dog. Pay attention around the 0:33 mark where the guy walks over and kicks the hell out of the robot, which makes a nice recovery.

    Raise your hand if, for an instant, you thought to yourself "Damn, that was fucked up, kicking it like that."

    (Raises hand)

  • to a bomb disposal robot. Its the sudden "Oh Shit , we don't have any more robots" response when you still have bombs to dispose of.
    • It's a bit stronger then that. You work with a tool, as your primary tool, 8 hours a day for a couple years and you get attached to it. Not so attached that you get irrational, but attached enough that you go "aww, I liked that robot" and sulk for 30 seconds when it dies. And then you're fine.

      Most slashdotters would probably be excessively pissed off if somebody stole their computer, even if they knew the insurance company was gonna give them a new one with better specs in 24 hours. This is pretty much the

  • by Deadstick (535032) on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @08:42PM (#44889681)

    ...on Sheldon Cooper.

  • "Soldiers" includes officers and non-coms - right down to teenage corporals - who send their human friends and colleagues out of cover to maybe get killed. The ability to do so is a primary burden of soldiering, harder, most say, than going over the top yourself.

    It's terrific if they have such humanity that they hate doing it to dogs and even robots - but they either have to be able to do it, or belong at home.

  • That's nothing. I have feelings for my car.
  • As a hobbyist in the area of robotics (done quite a bit with LEGO Mindstorm and am now working with Arduino automation), I can say it's quite frustrating to do something that causes your bot to partially or mostly fall apart. It's a lot of effort putting this stuff together and when your latest quadcopter autopilot program crashes into the side of your house at 30-40 mph, it's a bit sad. But also an excuse to build a newer, better robot. And possibly buy a new window.
  • by NicBenjamin (2124018) on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @09:45PM (#44889991)

    This study is silly.

    Military equipment has always been anthropomorphized by the troops. Ships are actually named by the government. Historically tanks and aircraft were named, frequently with the name painted on the nose. This is partly because top-of-the-line military hardware pushed to the edge of it's performance envelope (ie: training) usually has a personality (ie: some idiot over-tightened a bolt on Tank A by 2%, so when exactly these three things happen there's a rattle just to the gunner's left, but on Tank B that bolt is 1% loose and the rattle happens all the damn time), but mostly it's because when your entire job is to work with something for 8 hours a day you anthropomorphize the damn thing. Your monkey-brain just won't accept anything this complex is simply a tool, therefore your soul is convinced Tank A rattles at the gunner because it doesn't like it when you do those three things, but Tank B is a cantankerous schmuck. And when the Nazis blow up Tank B you miss it. For like 30 seconds. Then you'll jump for joy because the replacement, Tank C, is a newer model with a bigger gun and you haven't figured out what makes it rattle yet.

    This is something that everyone deals with. Us geeks get irrationally attached to computers. Normal people get attached to cell phones and cars.

    It's kinda interesting that it's happening to robots now, too, but it's not exactly surprising.

  • Theres an easy solution: Don't let the soldiers name their robots. No "Sending ol' joe out to examine the bomb" or anything like that. People will anthomorphize anything. Back in the 90s I was involved with some forest protection activism and one trick we'd do (for a while) is we'd get activists to go out, name a tree as their own "personal" friend and talk to it. It was a bit of psychology to get people emotionally involved with the campaign and it worked amazingly because they'd get angry when the logging

  • by RogueWarrior65 (678876) on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @11:41PM (#44890583)

    This is my robot. This is my gun. This is for fighting, and this is for fun.

  • was a japanese rocket which landed on an asteroid and returned a sample to earth. was turned into a good ken 'inception' 'batman' watanabe movie and SPOILER hayabusa burns up in the end. I have no idea why but I CRIED. http://www.japanflix.com/japans-modern-day-apollo-13-starring-ken-watanabe-in-theaters-february-11 [japanflix.com]
  • by G3ckoG33k (647276) on Thursday September 19, 2013 @12:46AM (#44890871)

    This already exists, in Financial Attachment... Ask any CFO, and you will see that his Financial Attachment to 'his' equipment may have even more far-reaching impact than any short-term attachment.

    You wan't to win the war? Make sure your enemy starts arguing over the military budget.

  • This is my robot. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

    My robot is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.

    My robot, without me, is useless. Without my robot, I am useless. I must fire my robot true.

    My robot is human, even as I, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a brother. I will learn its weaknesses, its strength, its parts, its accessories, its screens and its C

fortune: cannot execute. Out of cookies.

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