Airborne robots will probably be joined by robot trucks. Soon. When I was growing up, this would have been science fiction:
- A seven-ton robot scout driving itself to an intersection keeping an eye on traffic for a week or so, and sending back reports
- Later, the robot hauls supplies over terrain that would give humans in a Humvee spinal injuries
- After being refitted with weapons, the seven-ton soldier attacks a heavily-fortified position
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is rolling out "Crusher," a robotic battle truck. "Crusher" drives itself, although it's possible to steer it by remote control.
"Crusher" in the news:
- "Pentagon's 'Crusher' Robot Vehicle Nearly Ready to Go" FOXNews (February 26, 2008)
An overview, plus a video
- "They call him the Crusher" Stars and Stripes (February 25, 2008)
More detail about the robot truck
- "Gaming skills incorporated into Crusher’s controls" Stars and Stripes (February 25, 2008)
How off-the-shelf technology, including an X-box controller, were used in "Crusher's" design
Like every other new technology, robots able to act without direct human control will require new procedures and rules of engagement. But I don't regard this new example of artificial intelligence as a monstrous threat.
Given a choice, in a situation where terrorists were dug in, surrounded by heavy barriers and booby traps, I'd rather have the assault led by a seven-ton robot, than by American troops.
Of course, I'm one of those people who believe that terrorists aren't very nice people. I also believe that people whose colleagues have used retarded women as walking bombs aren't likely to stop killing people because they've been asked politely.