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Robotics The Military

Military Robots from 2007 to 2032 118

Roland Piquepaille writes "A new report from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) looks at the future of the military's unmanned systems over the next 25 years. This 188-page report covers air-, land- and sea-based unmanned technology from 2007 to 2032. The long document notes that drone aircraft and ground-based robots have already proved they could be useful in Iraq and Afghanistan by saving soldiers' lives. The report also integrates contributions of combat commanders pointing out possible improvements to today's systems, such as 'better sensor technology for use on unmanned systems to identify underwater mines and land-based improvised explosive devices.' This report also looks at how developments in artificial intelligence and robotics might lead to 'autonomous, 'thinking' unmanned systems that could, for example, be used in aerial platforms to suppress enemy air defenses.'"
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Military Robots from 2007 to 2032

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  • Apocalypse (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fishthegeek ( 943099 ) on Monday December 24, 2007 @04:36PM (#21809066) Journal
    It's really easy to write about Terminators or Cylons and busy ourselves trying to determine the best place for the bunker and ammo dump but there is a serious threat here to people.

    Any state not just the U.S. with the ability to engage in war without jeopardizing human lives will more than likely do so with increased frequency and lethality. We need people in war because it helps keep us out of it - well that's the theory anyway (read: Iraq). I am all for saving lives but I really don't believe that automatons with guns are the answer to saving lives. That and when they get tired of working for us that's when it really hits the fan.

    Okay. Enough preaching, I have to get a couple of cases of ammo moved before the snow starts.
  • by Bryansix ( 761547 ) on Monday December 24, 2007 @04:45PM (#21809154) Homepage
    There are numerous documented cases of unmanned drones carrying Hellfire missles that saved Soldier Lives by helping them get out of sticky situations. Note that these things are not autonomous. They are controlled by a remote operator.
  • Re:Apocalypse (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Monday December 24, 2007 @05:14PM (#21809420)

    Any state not just the U.S. with the ability to engage in war without jeopardizing human lives will more than likely do so with increased frequency and lethality.
    Until there are two states that have this capability... then it becomes very expensive.

    Also, there are probably political leaders that would value a $1,000,000 robot more highly than an infantry soldier, at least with respect to war planning.

    My pure, selfish side is very glad that the US is staying ahead of the competition.
  • Re:Apocalypse (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Monday December 24, 2007 @05:23PM (#21809486)
    There is a human element to strategy that we just can't reciprocate with AI.

    Honestly, how do you know that? You've been reading too much science fiction. At least, the kind of sci-fi where the otherwise beleaguered and thoroughly-outclassed humans have some inherent capacity that a machine somehow can't duplicate or exceed. The thing is, there's no reason whatsoever to believe that that is true.

    We don't currently have an operational artificial intelligence of any kind, and we may never get one to work. The truth is nobody really knows what it will be like when we do. But dollars to doughnuts, we'll find that even a mediocre AI will be able to plan and prosecute a military campaign one hell of a lot better than any of us. Worse yet, when both sides in a conflict are managed by advanced artificially intelligent planners and AI-driven war machines, humans may very well find themselves completely sidelined by the conflict. But when a robot bomber decides to drop a twenty-megaton nuke on a city, it'll still be our asses on the line.

    Getting past the unjustified racial glorification that exists with any presumption of intrinsic human superiority, it's also true that we have a lot of inescapable limitations to which a machine would not be subject. True AI, if and when it is finally achieved, will either be the greatest advance in human history, greater than taming of fire, the invention of the wheel, the Internet, possibly even greater than air conditioning ... or it will be the end for us, one way or another. Even if an AI has no particular desire to destroy the human race ala Skynet, but is, in fact, a helpful, friendly beast, well, think about the consequences of that. Remember, humans are limited by what will fit in our skulls: machines are not. What if such a hyperintelligent machine were able to answer all of our questions, able to figure out for us everything that we want to know. That, in itself, would be damaging. Why bother to learn anything, do anything? Let the machine do the work (that theme has also been done to death.)

    In any event, the odds of our maintaining any form of superiority over our synthetic progeny are minimal at best.
  • by SMACX guy ( 1003684 ) on Monday December 24, 2007 @06:01PM (#21809772) Homepage
    Man has killed man from the beginning of time, and each new frontier has brought new ways and new places to die. Why should the future be different?
  • by iron spartan ( 1192553 ) on Monday December 24, 2007 @11:25PM (#21811800)
    Neither side can say that they are innocent of abusing power. How its reported in the media, is a different matter all together. Compare how ECHELON was reported on compared to the Patriot Act. ECHELON was a far greater invasion of privacy than the Patriot Act, but because of who introduced it, it was treated far differently.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"