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Robotics Science

Street Fighting Robot Challenge 180

ianchaos writes "There's no better way to assure the eventual destruction of mankind than by the event sponsored by Singapore's Defence Science and Technology Agency. Newscientist has a good writeup of the robot challenge, which is to build a robot that can operate autonomously in urban warfare conditions, moving in and out of buildings to search and destroy targets like a human soldier."
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Street Fighting Robot Challenge

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  • by Tauo ( 1052708 ) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @01:04AM (#17747936)
    The problem I see with this, is that there is no point in fighting a war with robots, because the point of a war is to weaken your enemy, by killing off their people (soldiers). However, with robots, all that will be destroyed is robots and resources. No one cares. So what is the next step? trying to kill civilians and others off, using this robot technology. Singapore is starting a race for the next level of warfare. First nuclear was created, now robots.
  • Too much too soon (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 25, 2007 @01:04AM (#17747946)
    Let's just start with a robot which can move in & out of buildings and *identify* targets.
  • by Mantrid42 ( 972953 ) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @01:11AM (#17747994)
    Hmmm... yes... autonomous soldier robots... worked out well for the 12 Colonies of Man, didn't it?
  • slavery (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wall0159 ( 881759 ) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @01:14AM (#17748008)

    Robots probably won't destroy humankind, but they could allow us to be enslaved by other humans.

    At the moment, for someone to be in a position of power, they need to convince other people of their merit (regardless of whether they're a despot, or an elected official).

    Robots like these could allow wealthy people to subjugate others - private-army style.

    It would also absolve the high-level commander for any atrocities as they could attribute it to "machine malfunction" - oh how I look forward to that new euphemism.
  • I don't understand why the summary uses the phrase "destroy targets." Honestly, I was thinking that a while ago, the United States should be prioritizing weapons that disable humans through means other than chemical or lethal implementations.

    The goal in combat is to get the other side to stop fighting. Most of the time, the only sure way to get that result once the shooting starts it to kill them. If there were a way to stop someone from trying to kill you as quickly and effectively as shooting them in the head with an M-16, then we might see it happening. But there isn't -- even the best tasers are essentially one-shot deals that act quite a bit slower than a bullet, and don't do anything once the juice is off.

    Every time someone is killed by a US soldier (or even UN peacekeeper for that matter), more enemies of the United States are bred. It doesn't matter what the conditions were or the whether or not the rule of engagement were followed.

    Oversimplification at its finest.

    There isn't a country in the world today that doesn't understand that war is a special circumstance. If you pick up a rifle and engage in open war, you might get killed by the other side. We create "enemies" when we act in ways that enrage people, and killing someone in war doesn't do half the damage that, say, starting a war based on lies in the first place does.

  • by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @01:41AM (#17748182)
    It is much easier, more effective and cheaper to kill humans than to render them unable to continue combat but still alive.
    That's debateable. A wounded soldier is actually a liability to his surviving buddies during the battle.

    Besides, indiscriminate killing isn't very useful unless you're willing to commit genocide. Most conflicts are not total war in the style of WWII where carpet-bombing, nuking, and firebombing entire cities was accepted.

    Look at it this way, if you're going to send an indiscriminate kill-bot into a home to slaughter everything, why not just drop a 5000 lb bomb on the place and be done with it?

  • It is much easier, more effective and cheaper to kill humans than to render them unable to continue combat but still alive. Afterward, corpses don't sue or raise a human rights ruckus. And remember, we're talking about Singapore, not the U.S.
    I've seen cops (in riot situations) revert to these zip ties that are similar to what I tie the cables in my computer up with. The cop takes a zip tie, forces the individuals arms behind his or her back and applies the zip tie.

    These zip ties cost maybe 10 or 20 cents each. They are not fool proof. And the way in which you get the human into the physical position to apply the zip ties is a problem an engineer has yet to solve. But if you're telling me that this is too expensive. Or that, in the aftermath of the war, the individual (who at no time had any risk save maybe a broken arm through failed cooperation) will sue you. I will have to laugh. Have you priced bombs or even arms and ammunition recently? Not cheap. And through the use of those, the alternative is death. You can't put a price on life.

    Afterward, corpses don't sue or raise a human rights ruckus.
    Well if that sentence doesn't send a chill down my spine, I don't know what does. If you're using that as an actual retort to my original statement, I certainly am confused. Are you suggesting we kill them all because they'll be silent afterwards? Sounds like a war crime which is probably something I'd fear more than a "human rights ruckus". Wasn't that the idea behind the My Lai Massacre []? With the most recent Iraq war, hopefully we'll realize that our image to the rest of the world is just as important as our arsenal when entering a conflict.

    I'm not suggesting we use this in a civil setting or time of peace in our own society or anywhere. I consider even this an extreme measure only to be used in times of war.

    And remember, we're talking about Singapore, not the U.S.
    I don't care if we're talking about Morocco, I hold all governments to a high standard in this modern world. Oh, well, Singapore has a history of sneezing at human rights, so I'll let them slide? No way. If anything, we need to be more critical of them.

    By then they have already done the deed, and may not even believe that their wrongdoing was wrong. Too late.
    And I will assert that oftentimes the reason they feel they were doing the right thing is because of the deaths of people they loved from prior conflicts with their enemies. The trick here is to minimize the deaths and expose those causing the conflicts for what they really are. If you can't expose them to their own people, than maybe you shouldn't be there in the first place. Imagine if we found every Al-Queda member and marked them and made publicly known to everyone around them that they were part of an organization responsible for the deaths of innocent men, women & children, surely their families and societies would hold them as murderers. In our society, when your brother is murdered and you murder the person responsible, you are still tried for murder. Just because they did a crime does not give you the right to replicate the crime on them. And I think a lot of societies today agree with this or should come around to realizing that you can't let people murder each other. Justice & the truth are the only answers.
  • by Mongoose Disciple ( 722373 ) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @01:59AM (#17748280)
    You can't put a price on life.

    Not to nitpick too much, but people put a price on life all the time. Now, if you want to say that we shouldn't put a price on life, that's possibly another story.

    I think you do raise some interesting points and I agree with a lot of what you have to say, but ultimately I have to feel like it's a little overly optimistic/naive. I don't, for example, really see people who currently shelter violent terrorists shunning them if their crimes were to be known, because said people probably don't share your/our view of what constitutes innocent victims. How great it would be if the solution to all problems was just to tell people the truth, but I don't think that's the world we live in.

    Obligatory Simpsons: Salesman: Surely you can't put a price on your family's lives?
    Homer: I wouldn't have thought so either, but here we are.
  • by gbulmash ( 688770 ) * <semi_famous@yaho[ ]om ['o.c' in gap]> on Thursday January 25, 2007 @03:25AM (#17748702) Homepage Journal
    "I own robot jox on vhs"

    Okay, whatever you do, NEVER EVER use that as an opening line with a woman.

    - Greg
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 25, 2007 @03:49AM (#17748808)
    You obviously don't understand religious zealotry(sp?).

    Who uses (sp?) in the age of 'dict zealotry'?

    In any case, you are way too cynical to be posting on such subjects.
  • You can learn all you want about people, but there will ALWAYS be people who will want to kill you or enslave you not matter what. At the risk of invoking Godwin's Law, would learning more about Nazi Germany have prevented WW2? Not a chance of that. How about today's problems with islamic fundamentalist terrorists. We've learned what they want, to convert the entire world to their religion, by the sword if necessary, and kill anyone who refuses to convert. Our world (meaning the Western World) offends them just by existing. We would have to give up everything we hold dear to _possibly_ appease them. Even then, I bet they'd still want to kill us.

    It's not us who needs educating, it's them. They need to learn to live with people who are different. Unfortunately, that isn't going to happen. To them, different == bad.

    I refuse to be ashamed of my culture and beliefs.
  • by somersault ( 912633 ) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @07:52AM (#17749804) Homepage Journal
    "My countrymens' life have a higher value than the enemy's countrymens' lives"


Can anyone remember when the times were not hard, and money not scarce?