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Soldier launching UAV  (Source: Sgt. 1st Class Michael Guillory, U.S. Army)
Robots with ethics could one day be used on the battlefield

The United States military continues to invest heavily into robotic technology, as the newer generations of robot-based soldiers will be programmed to understand battlefield ethics.

According to an article in the Army Times, the so-called 'ethical robots' would follow international laws.  Ronald Arkin, from the Mobile Robot Laboratory at the Georgia Institute of Technology, wrote a book to discuss the future of robotics.

In "Governing Lethal Behavior in Autonomous Robots," Arkin claims robotics, if programmed correctly, have numerous advantages over human ground troops.  Robots are emotionless , expendable, and can be customized for specific missions.  

It's possible the robots could be taught remorse, compassion and guilt, but exact senses the robots would be programmed with are still unknown.  Furthermore, depending on the determined level of guilt, and the mission being carried out, the firepower and effectiveness of weapons used will change.

The robots could also be used to monitor soldiers to ensure international treaties are being followed by U.S. and coalition ground troops.  Although many soldiers don't want to be monitored in such an intrusive manner, several high-profile cases of abuse and murder have further blemished the military's image among locals in Iraq.  

If funding is properly allocated for the research, it could be available in 10 to 20 years.  As the U.S. continues to fight wars using enhanced technology, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and other unmanned resources have become popular alternatives to launching manned missions -- and is expected to further increase in the future.



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RE: Are They Hacker Proof?
By Moishe on 12/30/2009 9:08:02 AM , Rating: 4
I think the easier thing to do would be to simply not play by the rules.

A good example of this is the movie "The Patriot" starring Mel Gibson. In a battlefield full of rules, the little guy has only one choice if he wants to win... That choice is guerrilla warfare.

So while our robots fight with a smile, refuse to win, etc... the enemy will be pulling the same stunts as always. Hiding behind civilians, beheading, torture, etc.

Can't say as I blame them. The choice of hobbling ourselves in order to gain "respect" instead of victory is our choice, not theirs.


RE: Are They Hacker Proof?
By Lerianis on 12/31/2009 12:56:08 AM , Rating: 3
There comes a time where you have to realize that you can have a military 'victory' but still also lose the fight because you piss off the people in the country which you are fighting in and turn them against you, thereby turning them into the next generation of 'terrorists' (which is a made-up term for politically, historically or religiously motivated mass murderers).

That is the problem we are having with Afghanistan right now. Everyone wants to 'destroy the Taliban' without realizing that right now, we are just killing the family members of a lot of people in Afghanistan (and Iraq) who were, at most, NEUTRAL towards us in almost all cases, and turning them totally against us, thereby creating our own worst nightmare.

What the United States should have done was gone into Afghanistan and SMASHED the Taliban, then LEFT Afghanistan to it's own people with a stern admission to keep the religioloonies out of power or "We'll be back!" to quote Arnold, and NOT gone into Iraq AT ALL!

Or, at least, not without the full support and backing of every other Middle Eastern state, save Iran and EVEN IRAN if we could have swung it.


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