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
RE: Limited AI
4/14/2008 5:55:41 PM
Upon further review, this article does not do a great job of making clear that ALL fire decisions are made by human beings with these and all other present US military robots.
My bad on the "re-read" suggestion. Jason Mick: please tone down the hysterics - again, ALL fire decisions are made by humans.
"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes
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
Microsoft Co-founder Paul Allen Donates $100M to Fight Raging Ebola Epidemic
October 23, 2014, 6:05 PM
Cool Science Video of the Day: Carnivorous Leech Eats Giant Jungle Worm
October 16, 2014, 6:44 PM
Facebook CEO and Founder, Mark Zuckerberg, Donates $25M to Fight Ebola
October 14, 2014, 5:06 PM
Chagrined Over Leaks, CDC Confirms First U.S. Ebola Diagnosis in Dallas, Texas
September 30, 2014, 5:55 PM
Nail Polish May Soon be Able to Detect Date Rape Drugs
August 26, 2014, 7:57 AM
SpaceX Falcon 9-R Rocket Suffers Malfunction, Self-Destructs During Test Flight
August 23, 2014, 9:36 AM
Most Popular Articles
Amid Theater Boycott Netflix Defiantly Plans New Movies, Plus 3 TV Shows for 2015
October 24, 2014, 7:30 PM
AT&T Defeats Purpose of New Apple SIM, Locks iPad Air 2 SIMs to Its Network
October 24, 2014, 2:17 PM
CVS, Rite Aid Kill Unofficial Apple Pay Support, Burn Google Wallet Users in the Process
October 25, 2014, 5:26 PM
1 Million Credit Card Activated on Apple Pay Within 72 Hours, Walmart CEO Hopes Visa "Suffers"
October 28, 2014, 8:17 AM
Microsoft's Figures Show Desktop Users Flocking to Windows 10 Preview
October 27, 2014, 11:04 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
Space Terrorism is a Looming Threat For the United States
Apr 23, 2014, 7:47 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information