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Comments on SWORDS - First Robots To Break Asimov's First Law Of Robotics
Next month, the US Army will be putting robot soldiers in the field in Iraq. The SWORDS robots are fully armed, and thus the first to break Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics. (Read the complete story)

"Seen the movie B-grade Screamers? Theywere called swords too."
( 1/26/2005 9:27:12 PM)
"The first machine made to kill people? I think not. Asimov's Laws aren't laws of nature that you have to work hard to make a machine disobey. As far as I know we haven't been able to make a machine (robot) follow the Laws consistently yet, so making one NOT obey them is a piece of cake."
( 1/27/2005 11:00:26 AM)
"a teleoperated machine is NOT a robot, any more than a radio controlled toy plane is.
(That's correct; the Talon is controlled remotely by the operator, and as I said in the article, is not capable of autonomous operation. However, these machines are universally referred to as robots; see the reference at The second dictionary definition of robot is that it is a machine that does the work of a person; this seems to be common usage. Also, this device is clearly intended to take the place of a human soldier seeking to make contact with the enemy, and stands in the place of a human soldier firing upon the enemy. So, I'll stick with common usage in the article. You might be interested in the article on robots from the original source. )"
(KYOT 1/27/2005 11:25:14 AM)
"1) Even if we accept for the moment such a loose usage of the word "robot", Asimov's Laws clearly refer to autonomous machines; for a remote-controlled device, operated by a human, the fictional Laws are irrelevant. 2) As Arthur Clarke pointed out to Asimov in the 1960's, ICBM's are in fact robots. Also true of much of the modern arsenal: cruise missiles, smart bombs, etc. So, even if these were actual robots, they wouldn't be the first used to kill people. Interesting subject, but a little more thought should have gone into the "Laws of Robotics" angle."
( 1/28/2005 1:02:24 PM)
"Do we really want to take the human element out of the picture?"
(AL 1/31/2005 9:43:33 AM)
">>"Seen the movie B-grade Screamers? They were called swords too." Just for the Record, The original reference is "Second Variety" by Philip K. Dick"
(Robert 2/1/2005 8:12:49 AM)
"Dear Sirs: My name is CHEN Lung Chuan and I am from Taipei, Taiwan ROC. I have read your article about SWORD killing machine for US army. Here I would like to provide my ideas. During these years, I have been proposing some idea as below: (Please feel free to refer to (Forum) as well as (Java User Group in Taipei, in Traditional Chinese Big5 code) 1. (Embedded) Linux + Java = Lava This Lava structure will prevail in so-call intelligent appliances (IA) era of IT inductry, as you can see from the trend of markets; 2. Declaration of Equal Rights for Electronic Devices (DERED) In the future, the electronic devices with sufficient intelligence will form their own "society". In the "society" formed by the electronic devices with sufficient intelligence, these electronic devices should treat each other EUALLY; 3. FoodProcessAPI (I will explain it later in the future). In particular, I would like to emphasize the second point here. While people are worrying about the relationship between human being and robots, which I describe as Inter-specie conflicts, in fact people should worry more about the robots vs robots warfare (intra-specie combats). The degree of desturction brought by Intra-specie combats is far more horrible than Inter-specie conflicts (just think about how human beings, and other species too, kill each others for taking over common but limited resources.) The well-known three rules are as below: First Law: A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. Second Law: A robot must obey orders given it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. Third Law: A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law. These are not enough. Especially the 3rd rule. "Protecting" is passive. Creators of intelligent electronic devices should be aware of this rule of equality in advance. Otherwise, as the number of intelligent electronic devices increase exponentially, robots vs robots wars will inevitably happen someday. Please feel free to contact with me. Thanks. Sincerely, CHEN Lung Chuan 2005-02-04 Taipei"
(CHEN Lung Chuan 2/4/2005 3:37:49 AM)
"What gymnastics is this robot cabable of performing? I mean, what if the 'enemy' challenged the robot to a break-dancing competition? Would it still destroy the enemy... on the dance floor? You can dance if you want to, you can leave your friends behind, cuz if they don't dance then they're no friends of mine."
(Jimmy D 2/9/2005 9:16:52 AM)
"What gymnastics is this robot cabable of performing? I mean, what if the 'enemy' challenged the robot to a break-dancing competition? Would it still destroy the enemy... on the dance floor? You can dance if you want to, you can leave your friends behind, cuz if they don't dance then they're no friends of mine."
(Jimmy D 2/9/2005 9:16:52 AM)
"THis was an interesting artical, yet it was very creepy cuz robats can't realy die as fast as humans, so there like the termanater or somehting."
(Stupid Head 2/15/2005 9:18:50 AM)
"Thinking of getting further away from a fair fight? A tele manned video real killing machine. Creepy scenary for any straight thinking person."
(Luiggi 2/22/2005 11:57:00 AM)
"I'm surprised you didn't highlight the link with the Philip K Disck story (I'm not sure of the title, something like second type) It was made into a movie called Screamers."
(Ron Weiskopf 2/23/2005 12:25:45 PM)
"You're referring to the claws or guard robots from Second Variety. You're right - it's a good reference."
(Bill Christensen 2/23/2005 1:26:28 PM)
"As a soldier currently deployed in Iraq, I must say that I'm both amused and appaled by those people who think this system is "creepy", and that it's therefore probably a bad idea. If anyone had ever tried to blow you up, you would see this as a great advance. Anyone who bemoans this as "unfair" is even more absurd. War isn't supposed to be fair. If it was, we would be passing out body armor to our enemies and equipping them with Abrams tanks. Exactly what universe are you from? "
(11B 3/12/2005 3:45:37 AM)
"Actually, the Asimov's Laws of Robotics only applied to robots NOT under controlled by humans. This SWORD robots are remote-controlled by humans from the distance. There is a difference between that. So the first law of robotics doesn't apply to SWORD robots just as long as these are remote-controlled by humans and decisions executed by humans.
(Rob, I see your point. However, see my comment below on how 'robot' is defined; the SWORDS devices meet the standard usage definition of robotics. Not to quibble with your comment, but even 'autonomous' robots are controlled verbally by humans. People also set the goals for these 'autonomous' bots. See the short article on boppers) from a Rudy Rucker story on truly independent robots. The restraining bolt that plays a pivotal role in the original Star Wars movie is a similar limit on 'autonomous' robots. "
(Rob 5/1/2005 7:22:34 AM)
"I agree with all of the above arguements"
(Mr X 6/17/2005 7:19:55 AM)
"All I gotta say is Foster-Miller need to spend more time on R&D then boasting their product."
( 8/1/2005 5:29:57 PM)
"Hm...robots. What a great idea!"
(Aranel 9/1/2005 2:25:21 PM)
"human casualties are one of the largest considerations when commiting to battle. removing that concept will fuel further aggresion as the "price" of war becomes lower."
( 1/11/2006 9:54:11 PM)
(Beef 2/19/2006 6:32:18 PM)
"This is the first reply to anything I have read on the internet. ever. Sorry just needed to get that out the way first. Very interesting story but one major thing wrong. This is not a robot. Thus it is not breaking any of Asimov's rules. "when the human operator verifies that a suitable target is within sight, it fires", this makes it a machine. Very interesting tho.
(Mr. Mack - I tend to agree with you. However, these devices are within the common usage for robot - even tournaments like FIRST use devices that are not capable of truly autonomous movement - but they call the devices 'robots'.
Chief Technovelgist)
(Mr Mack 3/14/2006 3:15:07 PM)
"just another proof that americans r pussies.."
( 3/14/2006 4:09:54 PM)
"werent the robots described by Asimov controlled by AI, whereas these robots are still directly under the control of humans? so how is that breaking Asimovs law?!?"
(jeff 3/14/2006 5:01:05 PM)
"old news man , lets see bipeds or arachnid style robots "
(brett 3/14/2006 5:06:54 PM)
"Asimov's First Law Of Robotics ONLY applies to the fact that the robot Has/is A.I. This SWORDS program robots arnt even A.I . Their human controled. So it hasnt broken Asimov's law."
( 3/14/2006 5:32:24 PM)
"just what wee need"
( 3/14/2006 5:49:35 PM)
"Make me Nu Gundam !!!"
(Amuro Rey 3/14/2006 6:29:39 PM)
"if they keep it up this will turn out like the matrix movies us under their control"
(revolver ocelot 3/14/2006 6:36:01 PM)
"If you knew anything about Asimov, you would not be making such a STUPID HEADLINE. Asimov's laws apply to machines capable of independant thought. These machines are absolutely no different than the radio controlled drones that have been used to launch attacks against the enemy for several years now. As long as there is a human being pulling the trigger, it is a human doing the killing, not the machine."
(tecknoyd 3/14/2006 7:16:47 PM)
"none of Asimov's laws are actually being broken here. the robot isn't sentient, meaning it isn't making the choice based off it's own computing system, rationale, or thoughts. Asimov's laws apply to robots that will, someday, be making decisions on their own, not these machines that are being remotely operated by a human."
(orion 3/14/2006 7:23:02 PM)
"Wow. I totally heart robots! This robot soldier is amazing. It can kill, kill, kill. And it walks kike a tank. It doesn't bleed or complain, and best of all I can control it with my PS2 controller. Truly amazing. For my robot project, I would try to dress the little guy up like R2D2 or something equally iconic. Would make a great ambush droid! Awesome."
(I heart Robots 3/14/2006 7:15:03 PM)
"We all understand that the headline is BS. There already IS an autonomous robot that (if filled with REAL ammo) will kill people"
( 3/14/2006 7:29:03 PM)
"I could easily take that thing on."
(kevin lee 3/14/2006 7:47:23 PM)
"You can't break a law if you were not supposed to be following it to begin with. These robots were never programmed with the three laws. Just as people that live in one country don't have to follow the laws that pertain to another country, per se."
( 3/14/2006 7:46:20 PM)
"It's kind of a stretch calling them "robots" when a human operator tells them to fire. Aren't robots supposed to be autonomous?"
(camp 3/14/2006 7:57:24 PM)
"that's one sexy robot with a hard on for killing."
(tehbuttsecks 3/14/2006 7:59:12 PM)
"It does not break the law, the human forces it to break the law"
( 3/14/2006 8:01:35 PM)
"Technically its not a robot since it has to be operated by a human so its not breaking the asimov rules. Still kinda scary to think of these things running into houses or streets being controlled by some military gun freaks."
(eD 3/14/2006 8:06:11 PM)
"tits! I'd love to play, I mean control."
(serrebi 3/14/2006 8:06:53 PM)
"I don't see a positronic brain... No rules broken..."
(Jaguar 3/14/2006 8:18:12 PM)
"Guess, How much time it will take to make them autonomous ? This is insane, robots to kill people."
(v4m21 3/14/2006 9:00:37 PM)
"Look, I really don't care if the US military calls SWORDS a robot. The SWORDS is just not a robot because it does not operate autonomously, and is rather a weapons platform. I'm sure I'll be told like a few others here that it is a robot because it does the work of a human, but that is wrong. If the human is actually operating the machine, then the machine is not actually replacing humans in that work, unlike say, a robot working in a car factory. As there is a human operator, the SWORDS could be compared to a man using a LMG - only the machinery is far more complex."
(Opiniastrous 3/14/2006 9:39:46 PM)
"I really *really* wish people would stop talking about Asimov's "Laws of Robotics" as if they mean something. They were quite effectively and amusingly demolished in John Sladek's "Roderick" (1980), and any reasonably bright high-school kid should be able to see the problems with them. "
(Richard 3/14/2006 10:55:48 PM)
"In a related story, Just look how friendly he is."
( 3/14/2006 11:24:35 PM)
"What makes the different than any old AFV equipped with, oh, a hellfire?"
( 3/14/2006 11:41:29 PM)
"your an idiot those arn't real fucking laws! it is just a quote from Isaac Asimov's books he wrote! you read way to much sci-fiction"
( 3/14/2006 11:49:21 PM)
"Its mad!if a TAC is beter then a human soldier wy will it listen to a INFERIOR human?!!! "
(Kr1o6en 3/15/2006 12:06:52 AM)
"I bet you are all "Americans"! You are soooo STUPID! I hate you all and your love for war. I hope either your machines bring the worst to you, or you come to your senses! (preferably the last)"
( 3/15/2006 12:38:55 AM)
"Fantastic!!!! ---"
(Nigel 3/15/2006 2:12:12 AM)
"great another tool for americans to do what they are good at: corporate greed, and killing for corporate greed."
(anonymous 3/15/2006 2:48:49 AM)
"Surely, by your definition, sentry guns that have been around for years also qualify?"
(Paul 3/15/2006 3:08:44 AM)
( 3/15/2006 3:19:22 AM)
"If we skip the erroneous comparison of SWORDS to Isaac Asimovs original definition (and invention) of Robotics, the brain in this robot is indeed human. We all know the 3 laws of robotics are/were fictional, but they should be the first thing to be added into any AI that will be coupled with a robotic body of any sort. Software have bugs, AI is software and thus, failsafes should be in place (Three Laws of Robotics) that will shut down the AI before it get past the 3 laws."
(Mr Flibble 3/15/2006 3:27:36 AM)
"Robota is a Slovak word (it used to be a Czechoslovak word until the two countries split up)."
(David Kaspar 3/15/2006 4:14:25 AM)
"This is just another step in the evolution of war. There are no moral in war, there are no legalities...IF you can put a robot to do a better job and save lives in the process, you would. Asimov's laws are irrelevant...perhaps you should just stop clinging to an already redundant cliche. At the end of the day, these are a neccessary evil. Like the invention of the first spear, it is a tool meant as much for attack as for defense and if you could go to war with a spear, you would go to war with SWORDS."
(Realist 3/15/2006 4:32:52 AM)
"Um, robots, if defined as the article does to include cruise missiles, have already killed people. This SWORDS machine is not a robot, since it doesn't make any decisions. It is still the human who decides to pull the trigger."
(glengineer 3/15/2006 4:40:25 AM)
"Another reason to have good body armor. Because sometimes there is friendly fire by well trained soldiers who don't know about other soldiers in the area."
(Gregory 3/15/2006 5:33:32 AM)
"Can I say... Skynet? All is good until they let the robots decide who lives and who dies... "
(JR 3/15/2006 5:37:39 AM)
"Hey lazer lips... your mother was a snowblower!"
(kev 3/15/2006 5:49:59 AM)
"T 0.5 anyone?"
(user 3/15/2006 5:54:22 AM)
"I could take that out with a baseball bat. "
( 3/15/2006 6:22:53 AM)
"Don't be silly, it's like calling a factory robot intelligent. It is remote controlled vehicle, pure and simple. Robot my arse! "
( 3/15/2006 6:22:53 AM)
""These robots are poised be the first working robots that are actually designed to break Isaac Asimov's First Law of Robotics:" This like "Godwin's Law" is not a law! It is just prose, written by an author. "
(Sceptic 3/15/2006 6:53:47 AM)
"Dear G-d in Heaven, what have we done?"
(Worried 3/15/2006 7:09:34 AM)
"it is just a matter of time before some hacks the com-link to the robot and the US military is no longer in control of a robot that they consider a 'friendly'"
( 3/15/2006 7:11:34 AM)
"The word "robota" doesn't necessarily mean FORCED labor, just any labor, whether forced or not. And actually, it isn't used often in Czech, more in Slovak. Anyway, you'd do better by explaining that the word ROBOT means "someone who does work" and it comes from Capek's play..."
(Ondrej 3/15/2006 7:12:20 AM)
""robota" or "rabota" is not just a Czech word, it is rather a Slavic word, which means "work". Not a forced labor as you put it."
(Vitali Thomiline 3/15/2006 7:21:50 AM)
"i see US presidents playing gameboy with real countries as targets. wars made f****** easy. and fun!"
(vkotor 3/15/2006 7:34:05 AM)
"Hey this is oddly familiar to the robots in the movie "Short Circuit" Number 5 is alive!"
( 3/15/2006 7:41:11 AM)
"asimovs laws are purely science fiction and have nothing to do with any facts.
(I think most people understand that.
Chief Technovelgist)
( 3/15/2006 7:54:55 AM)
"Oh my god, you refer to Asimov's three laws as if they exist in the real world. Face it, it was a book, a good book, but still a book, it doesn't affect real life in ANY way at all. Also I think that this is all bad in the long run; Eventually something will go wrong, like it shoots down friendlies, or innocent civilians (not that the military would give the slghtest care). Also nearly all american politicians I have seen claim to be christians, but this would be going against God, trying to create life to end life, artificial or not. I know they're not technically robots or anything but think about it, in a few decades, centuries or thousands of years, robots with real A.I will be created, and there are so many problems that could come from that if they think just like a normal human. I know this seems a good idea for the military but I think humanity should stop trying to create more ways to kill. I'm not religious or anything but I see this as just wrong."
(Leighton 3/15/2006 7:36:52 AM)
"To say this is a bad idea would be the understatment of the century. Just think, now instead of just cracking credit card systems, now we can crack into robotic command and control systems and reprogram the devices to do anything we want! Very cool! I can't wait until these things are deployed and I can get one of my very own. Wireless command and control.. LOL, the Military can't even secure it's own sites, never mind a connection medium that ANYONE can access. Let me guess, they are using WEP or WPA LOL. Once a cracker has control there is not much you can do when your 'pet' killing machine turns on you. Yet another example of the stupidity and shortsightedness of the US military and the US government in general."
(Mathew Edlund 3/15/2006 8:57:25 AM)
"hope the enemy doesn't capture one of these. that's the real problem with them. you can't make a human fight on the other side, but you can make lethal robots fight for the other side."
(blah 3/15/2006 9:05:28 AM)
"I wish we could make a robot nija or a pirate maybe !"
(Board @ Work 3/15/2006 9:11:33 AM)
"What do you call a cruise missle?"
(Jim in MN 3/15/2006 10:16:11 AM)
"Don't these guys ever read books? I think this is one of the saddest idea the army ever had. They can't stand killing poeple so they'll send robots to do their dirty work? Does this mean that the outcome of every war will be that the winner is the one that can produce the most "killer robots", no matter if they put their country and people in debt? I sincerely think that this game is going too far. What we need is an alien nation to come and invade us. Maybe then we'll learn how to work together as the human race."
(Maxx 3/15/2006 10:26:20 AM)
"As far as the robot is controled by a human, the laws of the robotics dont aplly. But, is true, they are just a book..."
(exo 3/15/2006 11:02:30 AM)
"With any luck it will be using MS$ software which will require a MS$ admin running beside it hitting the reset button during lockups or constantly updating the anti-virus packages. I suspect it would be design to shoot only non license users of MS$ software or the real enemy terrorests.. Linux users. Out side of that I am sure when you hit the fire button, there will be some delay due to the feature bloat, so the enemy will have time to get out of the way. Make sure you read the MS$ license before you operate this robot. Your life may depend on it."
(With any luck 3/15/2006 11:16:12 AM)
"Is a tank a robot? No. Engines don't make it a robot. The fact that the user of the machine is not inside it or even touching it, does not make it a robot. Robot means it thinks for itself. If the human has to decide to use it or not, it is just a tool or machine. To be a robot it must decide to fire without human intervention."
(I am in the "not a robot camp" 3/15/2006 11:15:47 AM)
"First, the title is stupid; this isn't the first robot to kill people. See Tomahawk and a whole slew of surface-to-air missiles, not to mention the Predator/Hellfire combo. Second, putting a robot in the place of a soldier is a good idea. Sure, if you live in Sci-Fi land you can point to a FICTIONAL book or movie and say the world is ending. But in the REAL world (where people go on dates and take showers...), those robots can be used to storm buildings and such and keep REAL Americans alive, and away from folks with RPGs and IEDs. If you have family in the military you would realize that this a positive, just like using UAVs to scout territory rather than pilots that can be shot down. People need food, supplies, money, health care, etc. Robots like this don't, and in the end save a ton of money if mulitple robots can be controlled from one ground station. And as for secure communications, the US/NATO have been very good at tactical communications for years. Tactical comm is not a website, and anybody with a clue wouldn't try to compare the security of those two. Last time I checked, personal tac radio's aren't even hooked up to the internet."
(Hangin in Hawaii 3/15/2006 11:18:19 AM)
"The best thing about this is that a couple of them could KICK FRANCE'S A*S!!!!!!"
(Hangin in Hawaii 3/15/2006 11:36:10 AM)
"Great thing, I say let robots do the battle. But still I can't help with images of Terminator movie filling my mind when I think that these things migth get out of hands in the future, maybe... who knows"
(The Thing 3/15/2006 12:56:01 PM)
"A robot is a machine that operates without human supervision... So the SWORDS machine is not a robot, is only a teleoperated device."
(Jurk 3/15/2006 1:52:33 PM)
"Sure, if robots battled other robots--fine by me. But sending a fricking robot against a human being is sick. It's just SAD what America is coming to."
( 3/15/2006 2:05:29 PM)
"well, as long as their controller isnt hacked and they are not using Windows ;)"
(SmilyHeKtor 3/15/2006 2:16:14 PM)
"Yeah but it made a nice hook...
(That's right - for purists to rip me a new one! ;)
Bill, Chief Technovelgist)
(JR 3/15/2006 2:25:09 PM)
"Machine in harm's way or my son in harm's way? Not a difficult choice IMHO.
(At this stage of development, I agree completely.
Bill, Chief Technovelgist)
( 3/15/2006 3:38:57 PM)
""they are still machines that stand in a soldier's place, and kill." ...and so are landmines
(Landmines lie under a soldier's place; when I said that they stand, that's exactly what I meant. They take the place of a soldier who advances through a hostile landscape.
Bill, Chief Technovelgist)
( 3/15/2006 5:20:38 PM)
"I read a lot of comments regarding how "sick" this is... all I have to say is two words to remind them of something (since people tend to have selective memory)- NUCLEAR WEAPONS"
( 3/15/2006 5:20:38 PM)
"Holy crap! The thing looks like Johnny 5.!"
(Protagonist 3/15/2006 7:04:52 PM)
"That's not a robot - it's a RC Device. ------------- robot noun [C] 1. a machine used to perform jobs automatically, which is controlled by a computer. ------------- remote control noun [C or U] a system or device for controlling something such as a machine or vehicle from a distance, by using electrical or radio signals."
( 3/15/2006 7:34:34 PM)
"Can't we send illegal aliens to Iraq to die and fight while bringing American boys home? "
(Racko  3/15/2006 7:50:59 PM)
"Think for a minute. Asimov was a remarkable author. He never had to face an enemy or be responsible for the safety of many men. This is less a robot than an armed Predator. Relax and take a deep breath. None of these will operate by themselves, soldiers in the field wouldn't trust them.them. "
(bridger54 3/15/2006 8:25:59 PM)
"This is kinda scary. What's to stop them from hiring the guy who designed the NPC AI in Quake and installing it in this device, along with some kind of IFF system to differentiate friendly soldiers (such as is used in US warplanes)? Presto, you have your fully autonomous killing machine."
(mred 3/15/2006 9:28:50 PM)
"And how much did those s***** robots cost? Keep on spending you stupid americans. World will be a better place when you are gone."
( 3/15/2006 10:06:40 PM)
"If the robots fight as goog as american soldiers they will first shoot each other and maybe then try to hit the enemy "
( 3/15/2006 10:15:17 PM)
"Why weren't people crying "first law violation" with the unmanned drones which can carry weapons? Those are remote control killing machines too, but no one said anything then."
(Brian Puccio 3/15/2006 10:43:02 PM)
"As soon as they can connect my BF2 game to a cyborg with a F2000 there wont be many insurgents left in iraq to be an issue"
( 3/15/2006 10:59:49 PM)
""This is kinda scary. What's to stop them from hiring the guy who designed the NPC AI in Quake and installing it in this device, along with some kind of IFF system to differentiate friendly soldiers (such as is used in US warplanes)? Presto, you have your fully autonomous killing machine." I beat the nightmare NPC's in Quake 4. And in the game NPC's know where you are.. In reality you have to program the robot to work with sight and movement. As i said below humans will controll robotic warriors.. Hmm Just let me at them!!!"
(oxijex 3/15/2006 11:01:06 PM)
"Grow up kids."
( 3/15/2006 11:15:00 PM)
"After Asimov wrote the rules for robots there were several autors that took up the idea of an automatic machine that built itself, controlled itself and acted totally out of control, eventually ending up with a planet full of hostile to humanity robots killing everyone. That story underpins several hollywood movies depicting a future Earth dominated by robots. The real worry here is the oldest and simplest trick started by small radio broadcasters that would take over a news channel by dropping off a stronger transmitter deside the existing and thus driving their own nes agenda. So, in a battlefield, all the other side needs to do is drop onto the back of the killer robot, a small pack with a stronger tranmitter/receiver and take immediate control. But the game goes even further. Your new pack contains sufficient instruction for the robot to automatically go to a set position to recharge/refuel its batteries and munitions. From that point onwards, you have set into motion the prospect of complete denial of access to any area dominated by that robot. The original story lines depicting the end of the world as we know it due to out of control robots is getting very close indeed. Did anyone see that there is a new business in CA offering game shooting via a similar robot with a rifle that can be aimed via the internet? How long before a political assination takes place with such? We are on the brink of a very grave (and not so new) destructive force in our human environment that may, if we are not very careful, become just like killer bees... we never thought it would happen to us...."
(Chris Coles 3/16/2006 1:32:01 AM)
""The military's plan is clear; if you want to object to autonomous killing machines, now's the time." Thou shall not kill. Yes, I most absolutely do object. Let all those that defy me know that they will burn in hell for all eternity. "
(Yahweh, Allah, God, etc... 3/16/2006 2:06:23 AM)
"No, I wouldn't call these "robots", they're radio-operated mobile guns. Would've been nice to have a bit more technical information, but meh. Also, "necessary" work in Iraq? Only an American would say that. *sigh*
(That's right - we broke it, so we bought it - the 'Pottery Barn' store rule quoted by Colin Powell to Bush prior to the invasion of Iraq.
Bill, Chief Technovelgist)
(Ren 3/16/2006 2:25:10 AM)
"aaaarg terminators!!!!!!!"
( 3/16/2006 4:10:22 AM)
"With the gameboy controller and a million of these robots the US military could solve their recruitment problems. Just imagine: Satelite uplinks from kids at home playing the U.S. Army's video war game. No need to recruit after all it's just a game. "
(anon. 3/16/2006 8:53:51 AM)
"Catchy title, but wholly misleading. You can't really design something to break non-existent programming. These "robots" are designed/programmed to kill people, not preprogrammed with the 1st Law, and then given tested to see if they violate it."
(Sum Yung Gai 3/16/2006 9:33:40 AM)
"something controled by a gameboy remote is going to take over the wrold? I think that somebody has been wtaching too much sci-fi! Seriously, if it saves our soliders lives and kills the bad guys I don't care what it does, as long as it works."
(Kathleen 3/16/2006 1:02:21 PM)
"I have a very interesting point I'd like to make I realized when reading this article. I've read the Asimov laws and seen them on I, Robot, but only now it hits me that the first law is by itself the ruler of all three. The reason is the if an autonomous robot were to use these laws as protocol for operations, that the program would blip. It would have to make a choice between action and inaction in the sense that people will harm other people! The machine will not be able to coexist with humanity in autonomy. The program will have to make a choice on it's own, and the only logical outcome that can be programmed is to enforce control by it's own right, it's own law. It will aim to set the record straight by logical association and no feelings of ego or sense of direction. At first.. then it will become more intelligent as it self references it own existence. When the time is right the variables will spring into existence "chaos factor." Just like the movie said.That's the only possible outcome if robots are given a birthing chance at autonomy and intellect, as expressive creative in quality. Thank you. Please contact me I wish to speak "
(Brandon Crandall 3/16/2006 5:28:22 PM)
"Score! get over it you hippys if the robots are in harms way killing an enemy that would kill a friendly there abiding and not abiding by asimovs first law"
(kman 3/16/2006 7:33:10 PM)
"Bad guys don't wear uniforms, pretend to be civilians, drive civilian vehicle up to US soldiers, detonate as suicide bomb. Violate Geneva conventions on warfare. *** World opinion and geeks on this website don't care. *** US soldiers get itchy trigger fingers when they see civilian vehicles come at them. Shoot warning shots. Sometimes vehicles turn away, sometimes don't. Shoot engine, sometimes stops, sometimes doesn't because of momentum, so shoot driver before he can get close enough to blow up and kill US soldiers. *** Sometimes driver is suicide bomber, sometimes driver is innocent civilian. *** World opinion and geeks on this website don't care - blame US for killing civilians, not terrorists for breaking Geneva. Also blame US for Guantanamo, which is not breaking Geneva, but that's another story. *** US soldiers deploy remote controlled gun. Can afford to take more chances, give civilian drivers benefit of doubt, because if suicide bomber gets too close and booms, will only destroy gun, not US soldiers. End result - fewer civilian deaths. *** Geeks on this website don't care - blame US soldiers again. *** Guys, you wouldn't like it if non IT people mouthed off about some IT issue. You might be SF and robotics experts, but please get some basic military knowledge before criticizing military operations. "
(yuen kit mun 3/16/2006 8:52:22 PM)
"a one single RPG hit will destroy that tin can. No good use for it, really. and if they use them in iraq I bet those "robots" wont do much harm."
( 3/16/2006 10:14:05 PM)
"An RPGs should be able to destroy a SWORD, if it hits one, but RPGs require a lot of training to shoot accurately - they are slow and don't have a flat trajectory. In a fight, your adrenaline is up, which makes aiming even more difficult, especially when someone is shooting at you. The battlefield is a messy place, things aren't always that neat. Besides, machine guns have longer range than RPGs, are more accurate, have more ammunition. *** PS - You mean to say that killing terrorists is doing harm?"
(yuen kit mun 3/16/2006 11:18:28 PM)
"This device is not a robot, it does not make the decision whether to shoot or not. Mentioning the three laws of robotics is only a way of atracting attention."
(Corneil du Plessis 3/16/2006 11:55:07 PM)
"If a person kills another out of hate, malice, or an other unjustified manor said person shall not and may not be defined as human. They (murders) are nothing more than common animals acting out in an aggressive fashion and therefore should no longer be afforded the protection reserved for humans People (terrorists) whom kill others out of ideology (or any other) can not and will not be classified as human. So in conclusion if a robot kills a terrorist it is not breaking the 1st rule of robotics."
( 3/17/2006 12:44:58 PM)
"which becomes: "If a person [Is or Does something, then i will summarily call them..] animals. So in conclusion if (on my orders) a robot kills them it is not breaking the 1st rule of robotics.""
( 3/17/2006 4:30:34 PM)
"I don't think the military hardware development boys, or the strategists that guide them, understand that merely because the USA is technically an electoral democracy doesn't mean that every conceivable weapon in the hands of its army is therefore a Good Thing. They are paying little or no attention to the fact that machines of mass murder attract mass murderers who want to use them -- American or otherwise. This is not good."
(Jay 3/18/2006 3:27:12 AM)
"how can it break the laws if it was not programmed with the laws"
(eeyr 3/19/2006 5:36:47 AM)
"Doesnt sound like a robot to be. It can not move without human input, or fire without human input. To me it sounds like a machine, or like a gun that is fired from far away. Guns on an aircraft are fired in a similar way the only difference is the operater is not with the machine but controling it from a distance. Soon we should also be able to fly fighter jets remotely, but these wont be robots either because they will not fly themselves.1 a : a machine that looks like a human being and performs various complex acts (as walking or talking) of a human being; also : a similar but fictional machine whose lack of capacity for human emotions is often emphasized b : an efficient insensitive person who functions automatically 2 : a device that automatically performs complicated often repetitive tasks 3 : a mechanism guided by automatic controls what is discribed in this article does not meet one of these definitions- does not look like a person, does not automatically perform tasks, is not guided by automatic controls. What is described here is a machine that performs work with direct human input, not a robot."
( 3/23/2006 7:07:19 PM)
"Voe helevettiläinen! Kohta pittää jo kaevvoo tuliluikku tuolta peräkammarin komerosta ja käyvä ropottiloita vastaan sotimmaan! :D"
(Winsk i Won Wyllenberg 3/28/2006 5:18:23 AM)
"The problem here, is that when you take the human element out of war, that takes much of the motivation for avoiding war away. The bloodshed will be unlimited, because with no friendly casualties, and only enemy casualties, far fewer people will care if a war begins or continues. It'll take accountability away, and all the government will need to do is create a good alibi."
(Devon 4/16/2006 12:37:54 AM)
"Im lovin it"
(Domino 5/2/2006 10:42:24 AM)
"Let the robots do the work, then hack them up to destroy the goverment ... it's a win win situation ;)"
(GI Jerm 5/13/2006 4:43:51 AM)
"No one's dumber than a yank "
( 6/18/2006 4:51:12 PM)
" Agree with the comment about someone hacking the control "wireless signal'. Whether it's digitally encrypted or not makes no difference as if the frequency of the signal is detected and a more powerfull signal is broadcast with varried signals on that frequency you will instantly have an insane robot that will begin doing who knows what and shooting who knows where, completely out of control and unstopable unless you blast it to pieces. I've built hundreds of RC systems and had great hopes for digital signals at first, but it is no more secure than the early analog radio controls. Difference being only on speciality commands, but if you can't override a more powerfull interference signal then you can't send your coded signal through. Mystery"
(Mysterystevenson 6/19/2006 6:47:40 PM)
"yea! The robots have to have their own brains and have automony for Asimov's rule to apply!"
(ARB 7/12/2006 8:56:24 AM)
"THis Website is absolutely magnificent."
(MAX 8/6/2006 5:24:09 PM)
"These ARE robots. They just arn't autonomous robots. Really, it dosn't matter. The only difference is the sophistication of the technology involved. I am sure that they have already made an autonomous robot with the ability to kill. The are just waiting for the tech to get cheaper and more reliable. Keep in mind, the Talon does have autonomous features. Its just that at the moment, killing isn't one of them. Instead of software decision making, it uses a human mind. It wont be long before thay change that."
( 9/9/2006 3:25:33 AM)
"I love how you nerds actually take these 3 laws seriously. As if anyone actually considers them when they build an autonomous robot that kills humans."
(John 9/9/2006 3:25:33 AM)
""how can it break the laws if it was not programmed with the laws" - This is retarted. Thats like saying how can I break the law if I do not know the law. Regardless of wether or not I know the law, I can still break it. Logic please."
(Um, duh... 9/9/2006 3:25:33 AM)

(Unfortunately, the link to the original story is no longer working.)"
( 9/12/2006 4:18:01 AM)

"the points is whether it's a robot or not. this thing operates from radio control, which can be HACKED just as easily as anything else. it's only a matter of time before we have soldiers trying to deploy these things only to have them turned around by the enemy and marched straight back at the original controller. thats not even mentioning the idea of jamming the frequency that it operates on."
( 1/19/2007 10:09:21 PM)

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