The late underground cartoonist Vaughn Bode, who created a comic book universe about war-fighting machines, would have been interested in this military robot that's armed with a rifle and has been deployed in Iraq.
SWORDS is designed to take on "high risk combat missions," according to an Army statement. A specialist controlling the robot could send it into a potentially dangerous situation, such as a narrow street infested with snipers, seek targets and take them out before a foot patrol follows.
Maybe the enemy could also use robots like this and we could just let the robots fight the war on our behalves.
Sounds fine to me…so long as it doesn't wind up being like that Star Trek episode in which the wars were simulated in computers, and then the projected casualties were enforced on real people.
I don't have any web link to corroborate the story, but you might find it amusing anyway.
In response to robots like the Talon and PackBot used to disarm road-side bombs, insurgents decided robotics couldn't be that hard. They strapped an artillery-shell bomb to a cart, and powered it with parts from a window-mounted air-conditioner. They aimed it at a bomb-disposal team, let it go, and without any navigation or sensing it promptly crashed into a ditch. As everyone at iRobot knows, making robots is hard!
Cory W says:
According to the Washington Post, Soldiers tend to get very attached to their robots.
Interesting and slightly creepy that SWORD was the name of the *fictional* autonomous weapon system that runs amok (in classic robot-rebellion fashion) in the Peter Weller movie "Screamers," based on Phillip Dick's "Second Variety." Life imitates art in a particularly ominous way.