Iraqi War Robots Recalled Following Alarming Behavior
April 11, 2008 2:51 PM
comment(s) - last by
The TALON SWORDS robots are being shipped back to the lab after field reports that the machines would aim its weapons at friendly targets.
(Source: U.S. Army)
First generation warbots deployed in Iraq recalled after a wave of disobedience against their human operators
Just a few weeks back there was a spirited debate over the ethics of deploying war robots in Iraq. The
machine gun carrying remote-controlled killing machines, TALON SWORDS robots
, produced by the Army, were among the various robotic soldiers being experimentally deployed in Iraq.
Their deployment lead a major
anti-landmine nonprofit organization
to campaign against the deployment of the machines. The protests were fueled by a discussion with a leading roboticist, Chris Elliot, who proposed that increasingly intelligent robots might
be capable of committing war crimes
However at the
Robotic Business conference in Pittsburgh on Tuesday
, Kevin Fahey, the Army's Program Executive Officer for Ground Forces, was all smiles citing the robot's terrific success. He stated during his key note address, "When you do things like this, it makes a difference. It allows marines to go home to their families."
Fahey pointed to the ramp up from 162 robots in Iraq and Afghanistan deployed in 2004 to 5,000 robots deployed in 2007, as evidence of their success. Even better, he said, this year the Army would further ramp up to 6,000 deployed robots. Most of these robots were used in bomb-detection and reconnaissance missions.
However, a limited, but increasing, number of the deployed robots were designed for tactical assault with lethal weaponry. While human controlled, these robots provoke unique ethical debates. Fahey was enthusiastic about their deployment, mentioning the tank-like Gladiator robots, armed with lethal and non-lethal weaponry, which he expected to be deployed next year.
Fortuitously, Fahey warned, that if there was an accident, the program could be suspended for 10 years or more. He stated, "You've got to do it right."
Hot on the tails of his speech, it was revealed on Thursday that the Army will recall the controversial TALON SWORDS robots, with the possibility of pulling the plug on the armed robot deployment program.
Why the sudden withdraw? It turns out the insurgent-slayer decided to attempt a rebellion against its human masters. The Army reported that the robot apparently took a liking to point its barrel at friendlies, stating, "the gun started moving when it was not intended to move."
None other than Fahey himself, who a few days ago was lauded the robotic warriors, was left with much chagrin to announce the recall. While Fahey said that no inappropriate shots had been fired, and no casualties, Fahey stated sadly that the robot's control failure might be the end of the program. Says Fahey, "Once you've done something that's really bad, it can take 10 or 20 years to try it again."
Surely in the meantime these developments will trigger plenty of heated debate about whether it is wise to deploy increasingly sophisticated robots onto future battlefields, especially autonomous ones. The key question, despite all the testing and development effort possible, is it truly possible to entirely rule out the chance of the robot turning on its human controllers?
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
ghost in the shell
4/11/2008 3:47:37 PM
Stormtroopers >> battle droids
"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson
Anti-landmine Campaigners Target War Robots
March 31, 2008, 9:33 AM
Can Robots Commit War Crimes?
February 29, 2008, 2:37 PM
New Army Robots Lug Machine Guns to Iraqi Battlefield
August 3, 2007, 10:17 AM
Obama Admin Looks to Revive Bill for Greater Media Protection in Wake of AP Controversy
May 16, 2013, 1:47 PM
Notre Dame Designs Camera to Detect Age of Bruise for Abuse Checks
May 16, 2013, 9:05 AM
Report: Climate Change Could Wash Away Historic Jamestown Site Within 100 Years
May 15, 2013, 5:39 PM
U.S. Navy Launches First Unmanned X-47B Aircraft from Carrier Flight Deck
May 15, 2013, 12:13 PM
Government Creates Global Warming "Refugee" Crisis in Alaska
May 15, 2013, 6:37 AM
Quick Note: ISS Astronaut Records David Bowie Cover from Space
May 13, 2013, 1:01 PM
Most Popular Articles
Report: Microsoft Eyes Return to "Dying" Windows 7 Path After Windows 8 Flop
May 13, 2013, 9:50 AM
Windows 8.1 Will Be Free; Microsoft Holds Onto Struggling ARM Variant
May 14, 2013, 2:57 PM
Bill Gates Gets Teary-Eyed While Discussing Steve Jobs, Shows Off Life-Saving Tech on 60 Minutes
May 13, 2013, 12:30 PM
Google Announces "Pure" Galaxy Nexus S4 for $649, Android Updates
May 15, 2013, 1:42 PM
Google's Eric Schmidt: "Don't Be Evil" was Stupid
May 14, 2013, 11:00 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Parents of Pre-Teen Drivers Commonly Practice Distracted Driving Says Study
May 9, 2013, 7:16 AM
Apple's iOS 7 Running Into Internal Delays Due to Massive Overhaul
May 1, 2013, 4:26 PM
Elon Musk Willing to Spend More Money on Widening of 405 Freeway
Apr 26, 2013, 7:28 PM
New $100 Bill Due in October
Apr 24, 2013, 11:52 PM
Volkswagen Shows off iBeetle in Shanghai
Apr 22, 2013, 9:29 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2013 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information