Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

WEB NEWS

Online movement demands peace in Gaza

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Apple aims to satisfy China's hunger for smartphones

Read more

DEBATE

MH17: Punishing Putin? (part two)

Read more

DEBATE

MH17: Punishing Putin?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Competing narratives in Malaysia Airlines disaster coverage

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Kenya : Police arrest 8 over Mombasa rampage

Read more

FOCUS

Overfishing and the global appetite for bluefin tuna: can Tokyo turn the tide?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Too many graphic images from Gaza ?

Read more

FASHION

Who's next in Paris, an event with international ready-to-wear and fashion accessories collections

Read more

  • Netherlands to honour MH17 victims in national day of mourning

    Read more

  • Defying UK, France to proceed with warships sale to Russia

    Read more

  • Israel hits Gaza targets despite diplomatic push for ceasefire

    Read more

  • US courts issue conflicting reports on Obamacare

    Read more

  • Video: Lebanon fears fallout from regional turmoil

    Read more

  • Widodo wins Indonesian presidential election

    Read more

  • Flight MH17 shot down ‘by mistake', US intelligence indicates

    Read more

  • US, European airlines suspend flights to Tel Aviv

    Read more

  • Australian veteran Rogers claims 16th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • France gives go-ahead to pro-Palestinian Paris rally

    Read more

  • French Jews mourn French-Israeli soldier killed in Gaza

    Read more

  • PSG punished by UEFA for abuse of disabled Chelsea fans

    Read more

  • Colombia's Rodriguez signs '€80m' contract with Real Madrid

    Read more

  • Children killed in minibus crash in eastern France

    Read more

  • A call for harmony in riot-hit ‘Little Jerusalem’ Paris suburb

    Read more

Robots will be the future American army

Latest update : 2009-02-05

An American researcher has predicted that the US military - which already recruits soldiers using a custom war videogame - will be formed of half machine, half human units by 2015.

AFP - Robots will be armies of the future in a case of science fact catching up to fiction, a researcher told an elite TED gathering on Wednesday.

Peter Singer, who has authored books on the military, warned that while using robots for battle saves lives of military personnel, the move has the potential to exacerbate warfare by having heartless machines do the dirty work.

"We are at a point of revolution in war, like the invention of the atomic bomb," Singer said.

"What does it mean to go to war with US soldiers whose hardware is made in China and whose software is made in India?"

Singer predicts that US military units will be half machine, half human by 2015.

The US Army already recruits soldiers using a custom war videogame, and some real-world weapon controls copy designs of controllers for popular videogame consoles.

Attack drones and bomb-handling robots are already common in battle zones.

Robots not only have no compassion or mercy, they insulate living soldiers from horrors that humans might be moved to avoid.

"The United States is ahead in military robots, but in technology there is no such thing as a permanent advantage," Singer said. "You have Russia, China, Pakistan and Iran working on military robots."

There is a "disturbing" cross between robotics and terrorism, according to Singer, who told of a website that lets visitors detonate improvised explosive devices from home computers.

"You don't have to convince robots they are going to get 72 virgins when they die to get them to blow themselves up," Singer said.

Robots also record everything they see with built-in cameras, generating digital video that routinely gets posted online at YouTube in graphic clips that soldiers refer to as "war porn," according to Singer.

"It turns war into entertainment, sometimes set to music," Singer said. "The ability to watch more but experience less."

Robotics designer David Hanson offered hope when it comes to making robots a little more human.

Hanson builds robots that have synthetic flesh faces and read people's expressions in order to copy expressions.

"The goal here is not just to achieve sentience, but empathy," Hanson said.

"As machines are more capable of killing, implanting empathy could be the seeds of hope for our future."

Hanson demonstrated a lifelike robotic bust of late genius Albert Einstein that makes eye contact and mimics people's expressions.

"I smiled at that thing and jumped out of my skin when it smiled back," TED curator Chris Anderson quipped. "It's freaky."
 

Date created : 2009-02-05

COMMENT(S)