Sunday, July 01, 2007

reasons to be fearful

from the Guardian yesterday, the idea of killer robots is made even more scary by the fact they will be operated by complete fucking nutcases, i've bolded the juicier quotes

Real-life Robocops, robots armed with lethal weaponry and a programmed-in determination to eliminate foes, could become a key element in global counter-terrorist and military operations within a decade, a leading security expert predicted today

John Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.Org in Virginia, commented on plans announced this week by a US company, iRobot Corp, to arm its track-wheeled PackBot robot with a Taser X26 stun gun.

Until now, the PackBot, which resembles a miniature first world war tank, has mostly been used for remote-controlled bomb disposal, dangerous search and surveillance missions. Now it will have the ability to "remotely engage, incapacitate and control dangerous suspects," iRobot said.

"The addition of Taser technologies on to iRobot platforms will provide a critical tool for Swat (special weapons and tactics), law enforcement and military to handle a variety of dangerous scenarios," said Admiral Joe Dyer, president of iRobot Government & Industrial Robots.

"The new Taser-equipped robots will add a new ability to control dangerous suspects while keeping personnel, the suspect, and bystanders out of harm's way," a company statement said. The first robot of its kind "with an on-board, integrated Taser payload" would go on show next month in Chicago.

A spokesman for iRobot said the company had no plans to equip its machines with lethal weaponry. Nor would the robots be able to decide on their own whether to open fire, without a human being "in the loop".

"For sure machines could be armed with guns, for sure they could be autonomous," Mr Pike said. "You already have UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) with an auto-pilot. You tell the auto-pilot where to go, what altitude and speed. Then it starts making its own judgments.

"So with the robot, you give it an instruction like: 'Clear the building - anybody pointing a weapon at you should be killed'. And it would do it. Technologically, it's not that hard.

"Robots are infinitely brave. They have no hesitation in killing and feel no remorse. And the great thing is you don't have to send condolence letters to their families if you put them in harm's way," Mr Pike said.

What would happen if police ordered "robot soldiers" to clear a building, not realising that a child was inside? "First of all, the child had better not be pointing a weapon at you," Mr Pike said. "Second of all, people will think about that before they programme them. They will have criteria for that."

Faced by a "robot soldier", Mr Pike said the enemy had only two choices: "Either they embrace martyrdom - or they run away."

this man is wrong on so many levels, first in even thinking of the idea that its good for a robot to be able to make judgements over killing humans, kinda sets a bad precedent really, and not to harp on about SF films but you know the last half century of SF discussion has generally agreed that having robots able to kill people is a bad thing.
To be honest i wasn't even sure if this man was for real, even for an American in the miltary industrial complex he's a loon, and someone with no respect or empathy for human life. the fact he thinks its a boon that robots will have no remorse about killing and talks cheerily about how it would take out anyone with a gun is about as chilling as those cold war generals who were happy at the idea of nuking anyone that didn't tow the line.
The money shot is of course his faith that the programmers will be able to get the robots to distinguish child from adult, and that even the if the kid has a gun, well that just his own bad luck. To cap it off he mentions martyrdom, which basicaly means he wants to use this thing to make the killing of iraqis that bit more efficient.

somedays the future really does come a bit too soon, and driven by wankers like this who don't read any SF. if they did the world wouldn't be like this. Asimov is rotating in his grave, but then he already was about the film I robot.


Blogger Rob Stickler said...

Sweet Jesus, here come the robots.

I can see the headlines now. 48 Carpenters slain on 'BLACK MONDAY' before Robots have the difference between a gun and a drill explained to them. Similar problems with petrol pumps, TV remotes, bananas and water pistols.

The adverts are going to be great when these things go on the market, eh?

'Ed209, for when you absolutely, positively have to kill every mother in the room.'

'Kill's all known terrorists dead, or your country back.'

'Lose valuable soldiers when butchering foreignors? Not me - I just send in a squadron of automated death machines with no conception of morale values or the significance of human life.'

The laws of Robotics;

1. Guns bad.

2. Terrorists bad.

3. It is impossible for a robot to harm, or through inaction allow harm to come to an American.

9:53 pm  

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