[ View the story "Rise of the Robots" on Storify] Rise of the Robots Increasing use of unmanned weaponry raises legal and ethical questions.
Storified by The Stream · Mon, Oct 15 2012 10:09:11
The US Government Accountability Office states in a recent
that between 2005 and 2011, the number of countries using military unmanned aerial systems increased from 41 to 76. Below, a map showing the proliferation of military unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones.
Drone proliferation means Earth will become "terminator planet." Like US, countries will treat world as free-fire zone
The use of robotics in the US military goes back to World War II. In recent decades, however, technology has become so advanced that robots are now used to scan enemy territory, disarm bombs and shoot missiles from the sky.
This map shows the locations in which UAVs or drones were used to attack targets in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province, known to be an area with significant Taliban presence.
A statistical table provided by the
New America Foundation
shows the type of casualties caused by drones in Pakistan:
There has been a marked increase in US drone strikes under President Barack Obama's administration:
The following is a diagram showing the measurements and make of the "Predator" Drone which is most often used in Pakistan:
MQ-9 Reaper Takes Off at Fort Drum - Drone Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)alliefox25
Peter Singer is the director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative and a senior fellow in Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution. He has spoken on the subject of robotics and the military, while also highlighting what it means for the future of combat. Below is his appearance at a TEDx conference:
Killbot Warfare is Developingneurolanis
Singer released his book "
Wired for War
" in 2009. In the clip below, he discusses the new frontiers of robotics use in the US military:
The U.S. Military's New Warriors: Robotsbrookingsinstitution
Companies in Europe and the United States are moving beyond drones these days, seeking to provide an even greater advantage to various armed forces and establish the robot in armed conflict. The Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) funds companies like
, which is creating a number of life-like robots that are currently being developed to be introduced onto the battlefield in the near future.
Boston Dynamic's "
" has broken the speed record previously held by another robot. The company hopes to introduce the robot into the field:
Cheetah Robot runs 28.3 mph; a bit faster than Usain Boltbostondynamics
Another of their robots, the "
," has the ability to jump 25 feet (7.62 metres) in the air and would potentially be used for surveillance:
Sand Flea Jumping Robotbostondynamics
The LS3, otherwise known as the "
", is Boston Dynamics most revolutionary robot, imitating the movement of a mule. The company hopes to have it transport heavy equipment on the battlefield:
LS3 - Legged Squad Support Systembostondynamics
The following videos show a number of other robots currently being developed for military purposes:
Recon Scout XT training missionjerepowers
DARPA Robot Masters Stairsdarpatv
FNH Advanced Reconnaissance & Remotely Operated Weapon Station (ARROWS)ammolandtv
IBIS ROBOT - Pyrotechnical and Combat Robotpiapmobilerobots
In the 1970s, the CIA developed the "Insectothopter" featured in the below video, although it was never used in the field:
Insectothopter: The Bug-Carrying Bugciagov
Many video games are realistic, specifically those that portray war or armed conflict. The gaming industry's ties to the US military are much clearer in the last few years with game consoles and their handles used for
training and controlling
weapons systems. This advertisement depicts this concept:
Army Jobs ad (UAV) with Xbox contoller.hotdogfilms
Robotics is not confined to military use, however, given the significant spike in civilian use in the last decade. Robots are used in a number of fields within the civilian sector including the automotive, electronics, food, transport, surveillance and health industries.
A program called "
Robots for Humanity
" uses robots to assist the disabled in their daily living:
Robots for Humanity - Henry Evanswillowgaragevideo
This robot is programmed to follow the lead of a human through a physical interface:
Lead me by the Hand: A Direct Physical Interfacehealthcarerobotics
a vehicle that can drive autonomously:
Self-Driving Car Test: Steve Mahangoogle
This robot displays human characteristics, moving and speaking in a manner nearly identical to a human being:
Most Human Like Robot Everkennykpz1979
Netizens are mostly concerned with the US military's controversial use of drones. Many netizens questioned the lack of discussion on the subject during the US presidential debates.
Regime journalist Martha Raddatz talks of US soldiers being "murdered." Not one word for innocent victims of US wars and drones. #vpdebateAli Abunimah
And in a foreign policy focused debate, no one ever mentioned torture, human rights or drones, while "war" drew 37 references.Ari Melber
No questions about drones, or torture, or surveillance, or the drug war, or the creeping police state.David Roberts
Drones are like cigarettes to me. They're horrible and deadly, but a part of me thinks they're really cool.Neal Brennan
We need to reach across the isle. Rest assured one thing both parties agree on drone bombing Pakistani civilians. #debates #dronesTim Pool
After military actions/drones/loss of thousands of civilian/security lives,Tribal areas n the rest of country is still unsafe:REVISIT POLICYDr Shahid Masood
We want #PeaceinPakistan. No acts of terror, no drones, no missing persons. We Want Stability, Life #PakistanNadeem Malik
Next year Drones will win the Noble Peace Prize for eliminating people selectively and saving peace. #EU #Really?Lina Al-Sharif
Smaller leaner military = drones. #justsaying #debatesSarah Jaffe